- - Sunday, October 27, 2019

More than 130,000 filled the seats at Nationals Park this weekend to watch Washington baseball history – three losing World Series games.

The memories will be priceless.

This was it, Nationals fans. No more baseball this season in Washington. You paid thousands of dollars to watch a World Series in this city for the first time in 86 years, and you got just that — the World Series.

There was no guarantee on your ticket that you would see the Washington Nationals actually WIN a World Series game.

But I’m guessing you sort of expected the Nationals to win at least one of these three games. Instead, the local team went down in defeat for the third straight time Sunday night in Game 5 to the Houston Astros by the score of 7-1.

There was no guarantee that this Nationals offense that had gone through postseason opponents like a motorcycle gang wouldn’t turn into offensive conscientious objectors — three runs in three games, a combined beating of 19-3

I’m guessing you expected more.

Now you’ll have to settle for long-distance hopes of survival, with Houston taking a 3-2 lead in the series and Game 6 Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park. Your hopes and dreams will be in the hands of Stephen Strasburg, Washington’s Game 6 starter and postseason pitching icon. There are few better places for them to be.

If Washington manages to win the final two games of the series and clinches a World Series more than a thousand miles away in Houston, the memories of home field World Series disappointments will likely fade. After all, the Washington Capitals won their Stanley Cup in Las Vegas, and it didn’t diminish the joy and celebration back here in Washington.

But if we’re being honest — after the Nationals won the first two games of this series in Houston a combined score of 17-7, you had dreams of watching the Nationals win their first World Series title right here before your eyes, right? After all, you read about the overwhelming odds of teams with a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series going on to win the championship.

Need a reminder? 80 percent.

Of course, those teams didn’t have Max Scherzer scratched at the last minute from a start due to neck and back spasms.

The entire DMV may have suffered an earthquake-like spasm when the news broke around 4:30 Sunday afternoon that Scherzer would not be taking the mound against Gerritt Cole in Game 5.

Instead it would be Joe Ross, who had Tommy John surgery at the end of 2017 and has been slowly recovering since, trying to find the form that showed promise when he was acquired in a trade, along with Trea Turner, from the San Diego Padres in December 2014. He went 4-4 this season with a 5.48 ERA in 27 appearances — nine as a starter.

I’m betting you didn’t think you would be watching Joe Ross start the final game of this World Series to be played here in Washington. It went as you might have expected — four runs surrendered in five innings pitched.

There is still hope that the drugs and treatment that Scherzer is receiving will allow him to pitch in a Game 7 — if necessary.

If unnecessary, then the home field World Series disappointment of these three games will also likely fade — replaced by the jubilation of watching the Nationals clinch the National League pennant in Game 4 against the St. Louis Cardinals and the wonderful shock of seeing them come back from a 3-1 deficit in the Wild Card game against the Milwaukee Brewers to win 4-3. Those are Washington baseball moments that are lasting memories — new ones that haven’t been experienced before.

But don’t settle for those sweet dreams yet. Strasburg may have more good times in that golden arm of his, the one that has gone 3-0 this postseason and has established himself as one of the greatest playoff pitchers of all time — seven earned runs in 47 career postseason innings, a 1.34 ERA.

“The important thing is to go out there and pound away and trust your stuff,” Strasburg told reporters Sunday.

Pound away, baby. The last hopes and dreams of a magical season for Washington baseball fans will be riding on it.

⦁ Hear Thom Loverro on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings and on the Kevin Sheehan Show podcast.

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