2019 Nationals' Remarkable Road to World Series Title Began 1 Year Ago Today

Washington Nationals postseason hero Howie Kendrick
Washington Nationals postseason hero Howie Kendrick / Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Just a year ago today, the Washington Nationals and Detroit Tigers had almost the exact same record, as the Nationals' 19-31 start led many to believe that manager Dave Martinez was as good as gone. Naturally, the Nationals went 74-38, earning a Wild Card berth and riding a magical October all the way to the franchise's first championship.

To show just how improbable that run was, the Tigers, who had the same record as the Nationals on May 26, ended up going in the complete opposite direction and getting the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft.

Martinez had plenty of star power to work with thanks to Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg anchoring the rotation while Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon supplied the thunder in the middle of the order.

Martinez didn't just exchange the lineup card, however, as it was his championed aggressiveness on the basepaths, thoughtful bullpen management, and trust in his starters that helped the Nationals go from a borderline playoff team to the promised land in a few months.

Easily one of the most improbable championship runs ever, Washington's October magic is proof that late May is way too early to give up on a team.