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International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Nationals fall to Cubs, become newest victims of ‘DC Sports Curse’


The Washington Nationals lost 9-8 to the Chicago Cubs on the night of October 12 in Game 5 of the NLDS to be eliminated from the MLB playoffs in front of a devastated Washington crowd.

The last time a major DC sports team reached a conference championship was the Washington Capitals in 1998. Since then, there have been 69 sports seasons in Washington. Not a single team has made it past the second round of the playoffs. Yes, 69 seasons. To put it lightly, this is painful for any longtime DC sports fan.

Every year, it seems like every DC fan thinks that “this is the year”. This year this was the thought for the Nationals due to their unstoppable pitching staff led by all stars Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, along with the forgotten lefty, Gio Gonzalez.

“I think the 1-2 punch of Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg at the top of the rotation is what will be the difference for the Nationals if they go far in the postseason,” Patrick Reddington, writer for Federal Baseball said prior to the playoffs in an interview, “Strasburg, in particular, probably thinks he has something to prove after missing out on two of the Nationals’ previous three postseason runs.”

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Strasburg was incredible in the NLCS, allowing no earned runs in 14 total innings pitched. Scherzer also had a lights out Game 3 start, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning. It seemed like pitching was the only thing going well for the Nats throughout the series. That was until the fifth inning of Game 5. Scherzer came out of the bullpen as the hometown crowd went absolutely insane. He proceeded to get the first two outs. Then, Scherzer and the Nats completely imploded giving up four sloppy runs and losing their 4-3 lead. If 20 minutes can summarize the past 19 years of DC sports, just watch that half inning.

The Nationals are the most recent victims of the so-called “DC Sports Curse.” But, the past year has been truly awful. Last spring, the Wizards fell to the Boston Celtics in the second round of the playoffs. The Capitals, yet again, had an incredible regular season and completely deflated in the playoffs by losing to their rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins, in Round 2. In between the 2007-08 season, and the 2012-13 season, the Capitals qualified

Isaiah Thomas of the Celtics blows by John Wall as the Wizards lose to the Celtics in the 2017 playoffs. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

for the playoffs each and every year, and failed to make it past the conference semifinals.

“After running away with the division this year, the pressure is on to finally win a playoff series, and it won’t be easy against the Cubs,” Whitney McIntosh, MLB writer for SB Nation said in an email.

The pressure was on, and it sure wasn’t easy. In that series, the Nationals could barely deal with pressure. From Trea Turner and Jayson Werth each striking out with the bases loaded, to Harper, arguably the best player in the game, striking out to end the Nationals season. Of course, there were times where the Nationals rose to the occasion, such as Harper and Zimmerman’s Game 2 home runs, and Michael A. Taylor’s grand slam in Game 4.

“While the heart wrenching playoff exits have been rough, it’s been great to see some of our previously mediocre teams rise to the top of their respective conferences,” hardcore fan and operator of Instagram account @dcsportsreport Grant Thomas said, “The stars are dedicated and passionate and the diehard fans are as diehard as they come.”

By Saul Pink

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