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Ranking the top 10 games of the Washington Nationals’ 2019 season

Ranking the top 10 games of the Washington Nationals’ 2019 season

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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Former Nationals first baseman Adam Dunn on MLB's 2020 Hall of Fame ballot

Former Nationals first baseman Adam Dunn on MLB's 2020 Hall of Fame ballot

The National Baseball Hall of Fame announced on Monday the 32 names that are on the 2020 ballot, and one former Nationals player was listed.

That would be first baseman Adam Dunn, who played for Washington for two seasons, 2009 and 2010. 

In his two seasons in the nation's capital, Dunn displayed the power that had only been seen by Alfonso Soriano before in a Nationals uniform. Dunn hit exactly 38 home runs in both seasons, topping 100 RBIs during both campaigns, too.

Of course, should Dunn be selected into the Hall of Fame, the Nationals would not be his primary team. The slugger spent the first eight seasons of his MLB career with the Cincinnati Reds, and spent three and a half seasons with the Chicago White Sox following his time in D.C.

2020 is Dunn's first year on the ballot. While he had a long, respectable career, it's unlikely he's voted in right away, if at all.

The Nationals still don't have a primary member in the Hall of Fame, as catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez is currently the only player in the Hall that sported a Curly W since the team relocated to Washington from Montreal in 2005.

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Trea Turner undergoes surgery to finally fix his broken index finger

Trea Turner undergoes surgery to finally fix his broken index finger

Trea Turner finally found the time to have his finger fixed.

A Saturday Instagram post showed Turner holding up his heavily wrapped right hand and held the caption: "Only took 7 months to get this finger fixed but now my ring will fit better! 🏆 Thank you to Dr. Carlson and all the staff at @hspecialsurgery for taking care of me! World class job by everyone! Forever thankful!"

"Can’t wait to start hitting with 10 fingers..."

Turner did not play from April 3 to May 17 after fracturing a knuckle on his right index finger when he turned to bunt, and a pitch from Philadelphia starter Zach Eflin struck his finger.

Turner's absence was among several enormous blows to the Nationals' health early in the season. His replacements -- Wilmer Difo and prospect Carter Kieboom -- both played poorly. Turner finished his shortened season as a 2.4-WAR player. Difo and Kieboom combined for -2.1 WAR in limited duty. The swing from Turner to his replacements became a massive hole and coincided with the Nationals bumbling through April and May.

When Turner returned, he still was not healed. He swung with nine fingers on the bat. Often, it flew out of his hands at the end of the swing when he first began to play again. He was never able to bend the finger enough so the tip touched the palm of his hand. Turner also went to great length not to discuss his situation through the year.

There was no immediate timeline for Turner's recovery process available Saturday.

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