WASHINGTON — The drought continues. Another offseason has begun earlier than expected for a Washington sports team that was outstanding in the regular season.
“It was right there, right there for us to get, and we just didn’t get it done, man,” said Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth, following the team’s elimination from the National League Division Series at the hands of the Chicago Cubs in five games.
The Nationals were also eliminated last year in the division series.
“This is tough. This stings a little bit,” Werth said at the time.
Playoff appearances in 2012 and 2014 ended with first round losses for the Nationals as well.
“It’s one of those things you can’t find the words to say,” said pitcher Gio Gonzalez in 2014. ”You’ve got to put it in the past and get ready for spring training.”
The Nationals are far from alone when it comes to disappointing playoff performances. In the two dozen postseason appearances made by the Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Redskins since 2005, all have ended in a first- or second-round exit.
The four teams have now played a combined 69 seasons without reaching a league or conference championship.
It last happened in 1998, when the Capitals made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final before losing.
The playoff struggles come despite regular season success. In 2012, the Nationals led all of baseball with 98 wins, and the team won its division ahead of each of its playoff appearances.
The Nationals’ playoff frustrations are eclipsed only by those of the Capitals. The team has regularly stumbled in the postseason despite locking up seven division titles in the past decade, while winning the National Hockey League’s Presidents’ Trophy three times for finishing the regular season with the best overall record.
The picture is not as bleak for fans who look beyond D.C.’s top four professional teams. D.C. United last won Major League Soccer’s title in 2004. The Washington Kastles won their latest World TeamTennis championship in 2015.
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