The Final Game 

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I interrupt the regularly scheduled Watson Wednesday post with this post about the final Nationals game. Watson Wednesday will return next week – so stay tuned!

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Well – the Nationals finished their season in style on Sunday afternoon – winning their final series with the Marlins in a 10-7 game and putting their 95th Curly W in the books!

I was gifted tickets to the game by my parents as an early birthday gift; it was a request I’d made way back at the start of the season and because I was also gifted wonderful parents…they complied…and so we found ourselves at Nationals Park on a glorious Sunday afternoon to cheer on the Nats!

As this was the final game of the regular season (post season here they come!) a couple awards were given out prior to the start of the game. Daniel Murphy won the Player of the Year and that’s not hard to see why; his offense this season has been astronomical and I hope he brings it during the post season. Max Scherzer won Pitcher of the Year before the game started and by the end he’d have clinched his 20th win in the same season he pitched a 20 strikeout game. Not bad! Ryan Zimmerman won the Good Guy award…apparently this is a new thing and of course Zim won, because he’s honestly just a really good guy!

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After the National Anthem was played on the Electric Slugger…which is a Louisville Slugger turned violin…no kidding….the call to “play ball” was made and the game was underway!

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Tom Koehler (of the Marlins) started the game with a leadoff walk for Trea “Burner” Turner but didn’t pay for it as Turner was left stranded in the first…however, not before he stole second, his 33rd stolen base of the season. After issuing back-to-back-to-back walks and loading the bases in the bottom of the second, Koehler felt the sting – one of the three batters raced home to score on a sacrifice fly by Jose Lobaton and the other two base runners were brought home on an RBI single by none other than Mad Max himself, making the score 3-0 Nationals after two.

Things got interesting in the fourth when Destin Hood hit his first major league home run off Max and made the score 3-2…the Marlins were fighting back! Jose Lobaton made the rather odd decision to bunt (and my Dad had plenty of comments about it – he does not understand the bunting…) with two runners on and Max up to bat, but somehow it all worked out just fine because Max hit ANOTHER single that brought in two runs and made the score 5-2 Nationals after four innings.

The Marlins; not a team to give up too easily, fought back yet again and their catcher, Tomas Telis hit a two run home run (the second off of Max Scherzer of the day – ouch!) and made the game a little too close for comfort at 5-4. While Scherzer was still listed as the pitcher of record (that’s important for his 20th win) Bryce doubled to start the bottom of the fifth and then moved to third on a groundout by Clint Robinson. He then scored on a grounder by Wilmer Difo and the score jumped to 6-5 Nationals (yea – the Marlins got another run in there somewhere & tied it up for a hot second…).

In other vitally important news: Herbie…creepy, creepy Herbie Hoover won the President’s Race.

Danny Espinosa stepped up to bat…still in the bottom of the fifth and crushed a two run homer that elevated the score in the Nationals favor once more, making it 8-5! Trevor Gott got (hehehe) the first two outs of the sixth and then handed the ball over to Oliver Perez, who got the final out of the inning and then retired the Marlins in order in the seventh, holding the score at 8-5 Nationals.

Reynaldo Lopez came on in the eighth inning and gave up two runs with a two out, bases loaded single by Tomas Telis that made the score 8-7 Nationals. Sammy Solis was brought in to close out the eighth and the Marlins countered with Jeff Francoeur, but Sammy remained cool and struck out Francouer to end the inning!

Pedro Severino started the bottom of the eighth with a double and Spencer Kieboom; in his first at bat as an MLB player drew a walk (patience IS a virtue). Trea “Burner” Turner stepped up to the plate one out later and hit an RBI single that made the game 9-7 Nationals. Ben Revere brought in another run with a single to left and that would be the final score: 10-7 Nationals!

Mark Melancon pitched the top of the ninth and after inducing a double play and a groundout, the inning was over, the game was won and the Nationals finished the season at 95-67!

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I recorded some splendid video of the final out and the final Curly W of the regular season!

It’s been such a wonderful season and I so love being a Nationals fan. I know I’m a little biased, but I think myself and all the other wonderful people who support the Nationals are a pretty great group of people backing a really great ball team. I can’t wait to see what the post season holds – but I do know I’m already so proud of the fact that the Nationals already did better this year than anyone predicted they would. And sometimes it’s the underdog that can surprise you the most, you know?

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Oh – and in case you were unaware – if you’re a Nationals fan, always stick around after the last game of the season. They just start tossing things into the stands…it’s literally a free for all. T-shirts, jerseys, socks, koozies…if you can catch it, you can keep it! We walked away with two t-shirts and a pair of socks!

And did I forget to mention – it was my sweet parent’s 34th anniversary, so of course a celebratory photo was in order. I was wearing my Bryce Harper jersey and wouldn’t you know, his number worked out just perfectly for the photograph!

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