Now tomorrow is today and the Nationals are still alive to play the deciding Game 5 in the National League Division Series at 8:37 P.M. versus the St. Louis Cardinals in DC.
In true storybook fashion with their backs up against the wall, the Nationals won 2-1 in walk-off fashion thanks to Jayson Werth’s solo home run yesterday. Werth won the 13-pitch at-bat against the Cards 17-game winner Lance Lynn after Lynn threw a 96 mph fastball over the heart of the plate.
The crowd that was initially tentative all night after Wednesday’s 8-0 shutout loss gradually became more and more excited as the game progressed. Left-hander Ross Detwiler pitched six innings allowing one unearned run and was followed by scoreless relief performances by Jordan Zimmermann, Tyler Clippard, and Drew Storen. By time Werth blasted the home run into the visiting bullpen, the ballpark–all 44,392–exploded.
“It sounded like RFK when the Redskins were good. You can’t hear the person next to you and they’re screaming,” Nationals principle owner Mark Lerner said.
The Nationals poured out of the dugout, knowing that they lived to play once more. Tonight amidst the nerves and anxiousness for players and fans alike, 21-game winner Gio Gonzalez will face off against the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright. Seeing Wainwright for the second time in the series may benefit the Nationals struggling offence who have been outscored by 14 runs in this series.
Tonight culminates years of developing a farm system, painful losing seasons, and a season of games fought (and many of which were won) despite a dugout filled with injuries at times. The Nationals have a chance to win the series and advance to the league championship series where they would play the San Francisco Giants. But tonight, no matter what happens, the Nationals will experience October baseball knowing they pieced together a season to be proud of.
Best quote from last night:
“I think I screamed so loud I almost threw up. It was unbelievable.” –Kurt Suzuki
Other (playoff) goodness:
- Mark DeRosa helped fuel motivation last night by reading Theodore Roosevelt’s “The man in the Arena” speech. The speech, a microphone, and couple F-bombs made for a good motivator.
- Jayson Werth’s walk-off home run may be one of the biggest hits of the year, so it only makes sense that Charlie Slowes call of the home run is just as epic.
- There’s a Jayson Werth cupcake from Fluffy Thoughts Cakes in Virginia, and it’s not pretty cool. It’s pretty awesome.
- The FOX5 anchors paid tribute to the walk-off hero last night in the only proper way, really: their own Werth beards.
- A-ha’s “Take on Me” isn’t just Michael Morse’s at-bat song anymore, but an opportunity for fans to “finish the chorus in banshee falsetto.”
- Speaking of “Take on Me,” if you’ve never sang along at Nationals Park, you definitely need to hear it for yourself. Even if you have sang it along, just listen to it again.
- And now Morse has even struck up a friendship with the 80′s band.
- On a different note, the Nationals always make a point to honor the armed forces during games and they gave one military family a very special surprise.