Harris had been one of the best setup limbs in all of baseball that season with a farcical 1.50 ERA over 68 images. Though his peripherals( 3.15 FIP, 21% K-BB %) casting some doubt on the peerless sort of his achievement, he’d been spotless in the playoffs. Exactly the night before, Harris surrendered a run for the first time that postseason after 10 consecutive scoreless jaunts and an 11 -to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. And while public affection wasn’t yet presenting full-throated animosity towards the AL Champs, the Astros were a tower proximity in the organization on the verge of dynastic achievement- and success always multiplies contempt.
Conversely, Kendrick was a 35 -year-old veteran recently returned from an Achilles injury. He was so close to retiring, that he picked up photography in preparation for his life after baseball. He toy for the Nationals, a squad who before that season had never prevailed a postseason series. Kendrick purposed that shortage with an extra-inning grand slam in the separation line, and in the sequel, he payed MVP reputations in Washington’s second-ever postseason streaks triumph. The Nationals weren’t the eventual loser, but they proved themselves the’ it’ team of 2019, and they were having a moment.
In the vacuum-clean of those few weeks of postseason baseball, Kendrick and Harris were titans.
The rest is history. Kendrick clanked a home run off the right field foul pole, commemorating himself in Washington DC. The Kendrick/ Harris showdown proved the fourth most impactful playoff at-bat of the Wild Card Era by championship win probability computed. It will be replayed in foreground spools ad infinitum.
But on this time last year, January 3rd, 2020, the Nationals announced a three-year, $24 MM pact with Harris. Kendrick had already concurred to a succes tour season in Washington, passing these two rivals- like numerous nemeses over era- an opportunity to join forces.
It was a year to forget in Washington, however, as 2020 impart a stark compare to the soaring increases of 2019. Harris hit the injured list with a groin trauma after time two illusions, and by the time he’d start his next appearance, the champs had already fallen to 7-10, well on their way to a last-place residence finish in the NL East. Kendrick fared best available, twice spending duration on the injured list and finishing the year with a. 275/.320 /. 375 argument, a year-over-year drop from 146 wRC+ to 82 wRC +. Kendrick chose to retire this winter, and hard-handed as this would be to imagine when the Nationals stormed the field at Minute Maid Park to celebrate the 2019 World Series, it’s Harris- not Kendrick- who will don the Curly W in 2021.
Ultimately, Harris hasn’t yet had the opportunity to prove himself the crucial bullpen cog the Nationals expected when they signed him a year ago. Like many Nats, his multitudes were down in 2020: 5.22 xERA, 4.55 FIP, a ballooned 10.7 BB %, 46.3 HardHit %, and 91.7 mph outlet velocity, all three of which were easily career-worst labels. Much of 2020, nonetheless, is likely to be chalked up to the bizarre circumstances of the coronavirus-affected, truncated season. He’ll have a clean slate in 2021 and the opportunity to once again flip the script in his eventful history with the Nationals.
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