BRONX — The National League Division Series set a platform for many rising stars. Both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Washington Nationals prevailed under dire circumstances when facing elimination in Game 5. When successfully making the National League Championship Series by defeating the reigning National League Pennant champions with an explosion of runs in extra innings, and a torrential downpour of runs against the Braves in Game 5, the Cardinals and Nationals proved they have the grit and tenacity to take on any opponent that comes their way.
Before we open the doors to the National League Championship Series, let’s look back at two Latinos who made an impact in the Division Series and helped their team inch closer to baseball’s holiest land, the World Series.
At 20 years old (Yes, 20), Juan Soto planted himself within the roots of the Nationals organization that has allowed him to flourish underneath the bright lights of the postseason. In a series against the team who sustained the best record in baseball, Soto stretched two home runs in clutch at-bats that helped defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS. One of those home runs came in the bottom of the eighth inning in Game 5 against some pitcher named, hm… I don’t know, I think his name is Clayton Kershaw. Yeah, three-time Cy Young Award winner and eight-time All-Star, Clayton Kershaw. It’s safe to say, no moment or stage is large enough for the native of Santo Domingo who accumulated six RBIs on six hits in the series.
“For me I just think it’s a fight, just the pitcher and me. I forget about everybody that’s around me. I just think of the pitcher and me and look for one pitch and get my confidence like I’ve been doing all this stuff and try to enjoy the moment, I think that’s the key.” — Juan Soto after Game 5 of the NLDS
St. Louis Cardinals
Marcell Ozuna has become the face of the Cardinals resurgence in the postseason. Despite 2019 being his first taste of October baseball, the 28-year-old from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic has found a way to ignite an offense that hadn’t advanced to the NLCS since the San Francisco Giants defeated them in 2014. Against the Atlanta Braves, Ozuna set a .429 average and hit two home runs and five RBI within the series that allowed the Cardinals to soar past the Braves through five games in a best-out-of-five series.
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