Max Scherzer was delighted to have proven the critics wrong as the Washington Nationals reached the MLB World Series for the first time with a 7-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series.
The win completed a 4-0 sweep for the Nationals, who face the winner of the Houston Astros and New York Yankees in the showpiece, the former leading 2-1 in the American League Championship Series.
In-form Washington scored seven runs in the first inning with RBIs from Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto, Victor Robles and Yan Gomes, before Patrick Corbin's 12 strikeouts seeing them through.
Remarkably, the Nationals held a 19-31 record in May, prompting speculation around the future of manager Dave Martinez and Scherzer, who was rumoured to be on the trade block, but the veteran pitcher was confident the team's experienced heads would steady the ship.
"We knew we were going to be the oldest team in the league," Scherzer said.
Max is a mood. pic.twitter.com/Jo7VTR2VyK— MLB (@MLB) October 16, 2019
"Everyone said that was a negative. We looked at it as a positive.
"I'm one of the old guys and old guys can still play. I think the older guys bring a lot of value to the clubhouse. The experience we bring, the emotions we bring... all that helps."
The Nationals have been a hard-luck story in playoffs over the years but general manager Mike Rizzo, who has been with the franchise for over a decade, always kept the faith in Washington.
"I think every year we're going to the World Series," he said on the field post-game.
"We've been in the playoffs five times in eight years and have won more games than any team in the majors except the [Los Angeles] Dodgers in that time.
"So, every year we head to spring training expecting to win the World Series. Get to the playoffs and you've got a puncher's chance."
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