As Nationals fans exited through the centerfield gate after the eighteen inning defeat against the San Francisco Giants, they were all overcome with the same sinking feeling. They would not return in the calendar year. The Giants disposed of the Nationals in four games in the National League Division series on their way to a run at the pennant and now the World Series. The ballpark now stands empty, void of anyone excepting the occasional janitor or from every now and then, a security guard. Somewhere in an office, Mike Rizzo is sitting, wondering; what more can we do to make something happen in this month?
In the month of October, the Nationals, in a word, have been cursed. They are 3-6 in postseason play, the lights out bullpens are lights-on for their opposition, and they have won one game in D.C.
And so in everybody’s hindsight, the question of “where did we go wrong?” looms large. The problems were all mental, so it seemed. The Nationals gave the perfect lesson on how not to treat a postseason series. They seemed sluggish, overconfident and overmatched. Hopefully, they’ll learn and use it to their advantage next season. All of the postseason demons of the past were finally put to rest, after Drew Storen got his first career postseason save and Strasburg finally got his big chance.
But the Nats have to figure out one more crucial aspect, as this year’s Giants and Royals know better than anyone. October has no mercy. The postseason can allow for an occasional on-field error. But, if you are less mentally sharp then your opponent, then watch out. The Nats have learned their lesson. They must put it in action next year.