Few things could be more gut-wrenching than the way the Washington Nationals' season ended last night. One strike away from the first playoff series victory in the nation's capital for more than 80 years — twice — and the St. Louis Cardinals battled back with the weakest hitters in the lineup and ended the Nats' season.
As painful as it will be for Nats' fans to relive the series, there are few fan bases more associated with torture than those in Washington, DC. This year, they just have a new sport to be miserable about for a few months, after the most perfect summer many of them could imagine.
Nationals' manager Davey Johnson, a shoo-in for NL Manager of the Year, was upset with the walks issued, in particular from closer Drew Storen, who walked Yadier Molina and David Freese with two outs and 1-2 counts on each. Federal Baseball's Patrick Reddington was there with Johnson's reaction and some of his own:
When asked about his message to the players, Johnson said he told the team that "it was nothing to hang your head about. It was a great year. We overcame a lot of problems. We proved our worth and we just need to let this be a lesson and have some... learn from it, have more resolve, come back and carry it a lot farther."
And for the fans? "I'm sorry. We'll make it up to them next year. It was a fun ride. A lot of character. I really enjoyed managing them this year," Johnson said.