Nats look to add longer chapter to brief playoff history

Nats look to add longer chapter to brief playoff history

WASHINGTON -- For the second time in three years, the Nationals are in the postseason. This time, they are led by first-year manager Matt Williams, who has been in the playoffs a few times himself as a player with the Giants, Indians and D-backs.

The last time the Nationals were in the postseason was in 2012, and they lost a heartbreaker to the Cardinals in the National League Division Series.

  Date Time Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 3   SF 3, WAS 2 video
Gm 2 Oct. 4   SF 2, WAS 1 (18 inn.) video
Gm 3 Oct. 6   WAS 4, SF 1 video
Gm 4 Oct. 7   SF 3, WAS 2 video

It looked like the Nats were going to advance to the NL Championship Series against the Giants, taking a 7-5 lead into the top of the ninth inning of Game 5 of the NLDS. As the inning began, the Nats had plastic wrap around their lockers, as it looked like there would be a champagne celebration. But that was not the case, as the Cardinals scored four runs against closer Drew Storen.

Storen was one strike away from getting David Freese for the final out, but Freese worked a walk. Daniel Descalso came to the plate, and on the first pitch, he singled off the glove of shortstop Ian Desmond, scoring Carlos Beltran and Adron Chambers to make it a 7-7 game.

Then-manager Davey Johnson elected to pitch to No. 8 hitter Pete Kozma, who singled to right field to send home Freese and Descalso and put the Cards on top.

The Nationals are hoping this year will be different, as they look to become the first D.C.-based team to win a World Series since the 1924 Senators.

Last time they made the playoffs: The Nationals are in the playoffs for the second time in three years, and third time in franchise history. Under Johnson, the Nats lost to the Cardinals in five games in the 2012 NLDS.

Last time they won a playoff series: One has to go back to 1981, when they were known as the Expos. Montreal defeated Philadelphia in five games in the 1981 NLDS. In the series finale, right-hander Steve Rogers pitched a six-hit shutout and drove in two runs as the Expos won the game, 3-0.

Last time they won the NL: The Nationals/Expos have never won an NLCS. However, the Expos were in one of the best LCS in history. The year was 1981. It was the fifth and deciding game between the Expos and Dodgers. The score was tied at 1, when Rogers came out of the bullpen and allowed the game-winning home run to Rick Monday to win the pennant for Los Angeles. The game has been dubbed "Blue Monday."

Overall DS record: 1-1 in two series; 5-5 in 10 games, .500
Overall LCS record: 0-1 in one series; 2-3 in five games, .400
Overall WS record: None
Overall postseason record: 1-2 in three series, 7-8 in 15 games, .467

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.