2019 National League Championship Series
|2019 National League Championship Series|
|MVP||Howie Kendrick (Washington)|
|Umpires||Chris Conroy, Fieldin Culbreth, Phil Cuzzi, Chad Fairchild, Chris Guccione,[a] Bill Miller (crew chief), Mike Muchlinski[a]|
|TV announcers||Brian Anderson, Ron Darling, Jeff Francoeur and Lauren Shehadi|
|Radio announcers||Jon Sciambi and Jessica Mendoza|
The 2019 National League Championship Series was a best-of-seven series between the two winners of the 2019 National League Division Series, the St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals, for the National League (NL) pennant and the right to play in the 2019 World Series. The series was scheduled in a 2–3–2 format. Because the Nationals were a wild card team, the Cardinals hosted the first two games. The series was the 50th in league history,[b] with TBS televising all games in the United States.
For the third straight year, Major League Baseball sold presenting sponsorships to all of its postseason series; as with the ALCS, this NLCS was sponsored by GEICO and officially known as the National League Championship Series presented by GEICO.
This was the second NLCS in which the winning team never trailed during a game (the other being in 2015) and the second postseason series in which the winning team scored first in every game and never relinquished a lead once taken (the first being the 1966 World Series). This was also the first NLCS since 2015 to end in a sweep and the fourth best-of-seven NLCS to do so (the others being in 2007 and 1995).
The Washington Nationals, winners of the National League Wild Card Game, upset the top-seeded Los Angeles Dodgers. The Nationals were 19–31 on May 23, then went 74–38 the rest of the season to finish in the top NL wild card spot.
The St. Louis Cardinals were 44–44 at the All-Star break, and also finished the season strong, going 47–27 after the break and winning their first National League Central title in four years. As a third-seed, the Cardinals upset the second-seeded Atlanta Braves.
This was the 14th NLCS appearance for the Cardinals, who had a 7–6 record in prior Championship Series. It was the second NLCS appearance for the Nationals, who lost the 1981 NLCS when they were the Montreal Expos.
The only prior postseason meeting between these two teams was the 2012 NLDS, won by St. Louis. The Cardinals and Nationals faced each other seven times during the 2019 regular season, with the Cardinals winning five of those games.
Washington won the series, 4–0.
|1||October 11||Washington Nationals – 2, St. Louis Cardinals – 0||Busch Stadium||3:24||45,075|
|2||October 12||Washington Nationals – 3, St. Louis Cardinals – 1||Busch Stadium||2:53||46,458|
|3||October 14||St. Louis Cardinals – 1, Washington Nationals – 8||Nationals Park||3:26||43,675|
|4||October 15||St. Louis Cardinals – 4, Washington Nationals – 7||Nationals Park||3:02||43,976|
|WP: Aníbal Sánchez (1–0) LP: Miles Mikolas (0–1) Sv: Sean Doolittle (1)|
The Nationals entered Game 1 without closer Daniel Hudson, who was placed on paternity leave; Wander Suero was activated in his place. Washington got one run in the second as Yan Gomes drove in Howie Kendrick with a two-out double. Cardinals starting pitcher Miles Mikolas went six innings, allowing one run on seven hits while striking out seven. The Nationals added a run in the seventh, again with two outs, as Kendrick drove in Adam Eaton, who had tripled. Washington starting pitcher Aníbal Sánchez did not allow a hit until a two-out single by José Martínez in the eighth inning; Sánchez struck out five, walked one, and hit two batsmen in 7 2⁄3 innings. Sean Doolittle relieved Sánchez and recorded the final four outs, giving Washington the 2–0 win and a 1–0 lead in the series. Sánchez had also been the starting pitcher in the most recent prior one-hitter in playoff history, Game 1 of the 2013 ALCS, coming against the Boston Red Sox when he played for the Detroit Tigers. It was Doolittle's first save this postseason.
|WP: Max Scherzer (1–0) LP: Adam Wainwright (0–1) Sv: Daniel Hudson (1)|
WSH: Michael A. Taylor (1)
Nationals closer Daniel Hudson returned to the team from paternity leave. Washington took a 1–0 lead in the top of the third inning on a solo home run by Michael A. Taylor. Washington starting pitcher Max Scherzer did not allow a hit until Paul Goldschmidt led off the seventh inning with a single; Scherzer allowed only the one hit, struck out 11, and walked two in seven innings. By holding the Cardinals hitless through the first five innings of each of their starts, Scherzer and teammate Aníbal Sánchez repeated a feat they accomplished in Games 1 and 2 of the 2013 American League Championship Series, a feat no other pair of pitchers has ever accomplished in the postseason. The Nationals added two runs in the eighth when Adam Eaton hit a double into the right-field corner to drive in Matt Adams and Trea Turner. Paul DeJong scored the Cardinals' first run of the series in the eighth inning ahead of a double by José Martínez over Taylor's outstretched glove. Hudson then retired the final two hitters on fly outs, the second a foul popup to first base, to record the save, his third this postseason.
|WP: Stephen Strasburg (1–0) LP: Jack Flaherty (0–1)|
WSH: Víctor Robles (1)
Game 3 starting pitchers were Jack Flaherty for the Cardinals and Stephen Strasburg for the Nationals. Washington scored first, in the third inning; with a runner on first and two outs, a single, double, walk, wild pitch, and another double pushed across four runs. Flaherty exited after four innings, having allowed four runs on five hits while striking out six. Washington added two more runs in the fifth inning, again starting with a runner on first and two outs, via back-to-back doubles. A Víctor Robles solo home run in the sixth inning extended the Nationals' lead to 7–0. Each team scored once in the seventh inning, yielding an 8–1 final score and giving Washington a commanding 3–0 lead in the series, as Tanner Rainey concluded matters by working the ninth, and retired Tommy Edman on a flyout to Juan Soto to win it. Flaherty took the loss, while Strasburg was credited with the win, having allowed one run on seven hits while striking out 12 in seven innings.
|WP: Patrick Corbin (1–0) LP: Dakota Hudson (0–1) Sv: Daniel Hudson (2)|
STL: Yadier Molina (1)
Game 4 starting pitchers were Dakota Hudson for the Cardinals and Patrick Corbin for the Nationals. The Nationals chased Hudson in the first inning by scoring seven runs on a sacrifice fly, double, and three singles. For the night, Hudson pitched 1⁄3 of an inning, allowing seven runs (four earned) on five hits, one walk, and a dropped-throw error by second baseman Kolten Wong. Hudson's seven runs allowed tied the postseason record for most runs allowed in a start lasting 1⁄3 of an inning or less, a record set by Mike Foltynewicz in Game 5 of the 2019 NLDS, ironically against the Cardinals. The Cardinals scored their first run in the fourth on a solo home run by Yadier Molina and three more in the fifth on an RBI groundout by Tommy Edman and a two-run double by José Martínez. Corbin was credited with the win after allowing four runs on four hits in five innings; he also walked three and struck out 12. Washington closer Daniel Hudson entered the game with two outs in the eighth inning. After hitting Molina with a pitch and walking Paul DeJong, Hudson retired the final four batters he faced, retiring Tommy Edman on a fly out to center field for the final out, to record his fourth save of this postseason. The win sent the Nationals to the World Series for the first time in the franchise's 51-year history dating back to their founding as the Montreal Expos in 1969. Howie Kendrick was voted the MVP of the series. The Cardinals' .130 batting average (16–for–123) set an NLCS record for lowest team batting average. It was also their eighth straight season without winning the title. For the first time since 1933, Washington advanced to the World Series, becoming the last National League team to do so; this left the Seattle Mariners as the only team in Major League Baseball that has never advanced to the World Series.
Composite line score
|St. Louis Cardinals||0||0||0||1||3||0||1||1||0||6||16||1|
|Total attendance: 179,184 Average attendance: 44,796|
- During the postseason, there are eight umpires to a crew. One umpire is designated as the replay official and is assigned to MLB's New York office with replay officials for the first two games of the series. At the first travel day, the replay official umpire is assigned to the field for the remainder of the series and one umpire from those games is reassigned to replay official. Muchlinski was the Game 1 and Game 2 replay official, while Guccione was the replay official for the remaining games.
- The NLCS was first played in 1969; the 10th series was 1978 and the 20th series was 1988. As there was no postseason in 1994 due to a work stoppage, the 30th series was 1999 and the 40th series was 2009, making 2019 the 50th series.
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