The 2019 Washington Nationals are postseason bound after clawing their way back from a 19-31 start to earn a spot in the NL Wild Card Game.
It was a drama-filled season that saw plenty of masterful performances and crazy finishes. As hard as it might be to rank those contests, we did our best to narrow things down to the 10 best games of the season.
1. Suzuki’s homer caps off seven-run, ninth-inning comeback to beat the Mets
Could it be anything else? The Nationals were down to their final two outs facing a six-run deficit against the New York Mets in early September. They then rattled off six straight hits, with Kurt Suzuki blasting a three-run moonshot off Edwin Diaz to seal the victory.
2. Scherzer tosses seven scoreless with a broken nose
Hearts dropped everywhere across the District after video emerged of Max Scherzer bunting a ball straight into his face during a June batting practice in between starts. Despite breaking his nose, Scherzer took the mound a day later and hurled seven shutout innings with 10 strikeouts against the Philadelphia Phillies.
3. Corbin pitches in memory of friend Tyler Skaggs
No one would’ve faulted Patrick Corbin if he took the day off July 2, one day after his friend and former teammate Tyler Skaggs died of a drug overdose. But instead, Corbin donned Skaggs’ No. 45 and allowed just one run over seven innings as teams across the majors held moments of silence for the late pitcher.
4. Nats eliminate Phillies, clinch own playoff berth in doubleheader
OK, this is technically two games. But it couldn’t have been more fitting for the Nationals to eliminate their division rival from postseason contention in Game 1 of a doubleheader before celebrating their own clinch just minutes after winning Game 2 (courtesy of a go-ahead grand slam off the bat of Trea Turner). Oh yeah, and it all happened with that Bryce Harper guy in the opponents’ dugout.
5. Barrett pitches in the majors for the first time in four years
A long, grueling road to recovery from multiple arm injuries culminated Sept. 7 when Aaron Barrett pitched in an MLB game for the first time since 2015. He worked a scoreless fifth against the Atlanta Braves before emotions took over in the dugout.
6. Nats fall to Brewers in crazy extra-inning game
Over the course of this 14-inning marathon of a game, the Nats and Milwaukee Brewers combined to score 29 runs, use 19 pitchers and force nine ties and lead changes. Washington might not have won this game, but any contest that sees 10 home runs leave the yard is worth consideration for one of the best games of the year.
7. Parra crushes grand slam for first hit with Washington
Before baby shark, there was just Gerardo Parra, whose Nationals debut came in grand fashion when he smacked a go-ahead four-run homer in the eighth inning on May 12 to pull ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was the start of a series of clutch hits for the veteran outfielder, quickly solidifying his status as a fan favorite.
8. Strasburg picks up three hits, homers and dances in the dugout
It wasn’t his best pitching performance of the year, but Stephen Strasburg made up for it with three hits, five RBIs and his fourth career homer on July 18 against the Braves. What really made the day, however, was the home run dance he did in the dugout—if you can even call that a dance.
9. Turner goes for second-career cycle
Three things are certain in life: death, taxes and Turner hitting for a cycle against the Colorado Rockies. His first one came at Coors Field in 2017, but on July 23 he achieved the feat in D.C., earning a standing ovation from the Nationals faithful.
10. Nats hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back homers
You didn’t think we were going to get all the way through this list without talking about Anthony Rendon, did you? He followed Howie Kendrick, Turner and Adam Eaton to hit four straight home runs against the San Diego Padres on June 9. It was the second time in three years the Nationals went back-to-back-to-back-to-back.
Just missed the cut:
May 23 – Nats lose to the Mets 6-4, falling to 19-31 on the year before turning their season around
March 31 – Turner hits a walk-off homer against Mets to give Nats their first win of the year
April 10 - Victor Robles ties game against Phillies in the ninth down to final strike, Juan Soto wins it in extras
June 21 – Robles makes a game-winning, sliding catch to seal a tight win over the Braves
June 30 – Scherzer caps off a historic month of June with a 14-strikeout performance against the Tigers
July 29 – Rendon hits a go-ahead grand slam in the sixth inning against the Braves
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