ST. LOUIS – Daniel Hudson’s journey from playoff hero to paternity leave and back again had the happiest of endings Saturday, as he returned to the warm embrace of a supportive clubhouse and a team on the verge of a World Series bid.
Hudson, bleary-eyed after the birth of his third daughter, Millie, hopped a 6 a.m. Southwest flight out of Phoenix on Saturday morning and landed after 11 a.m. in St. Louis, where he ultimately recorded the save in the Washington Nationals’ 3-1 victory in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series.
The Nationals won Game 1 without him, 2-0, and lead the NLCS by that same margin. Meanwhile, in the time it took Hudson’s wife, Sara, to get into the hospital, have labor induced and give birth, Hudson’s absence became something of a debate on employee obligation and parental leave.
The Nationals never wavered, and ultimately got the last word – two wins, and a reliever who witnessed the birth of his third child.
“I think if your reaction to someone having a baby is anything other than, ‘Congratulations, I hope everybody’s healthy,’ you’re an asshole,” Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle quipped in a rebuke of former Miami Marlins president David Samson and others who expressed critiques online and elsewhere.
Doolittle recorded the final four outs without Hudson in Friday’s Game 1 and pitched the eighth Saturday, with fellow lefty Patrick Corbin making a cameo for one out in the ninth. Hudson then retired the Cardinals’ two most dangerous right-handed hitters, Paul Goldschmidt and Marcell Ozuna, on a fly ball and foul pop-up to end it.
And Hudson, after a 72-hour odyssey that took him from Los Angeles to Phoenix to St. Louis, could ponder a good night’s sleep before the Nationals return to Washington on Sunday.
“Pretty well,” he said when asked how he’d sleep Saturday night.
Sean Doolittle, with what we'll assume is the final word on Daniel Hudson's paternity leave:— Gabe Lacques (@GabeLacques) October 13, 2019
"I think if your reaction to someone having a baby is anything
other than, ‘Congratulations, I hope everybody’s healthy,’ you’re an asshole."