Everyday has it’s average stresses and anxiety-provoking tasks or struggles, but today was especially nerve-wracking for you die-hard Nationals baseball fans. Will the season end today or will we continue on for a chance at winning the NLDS? Well, you can all exhale. The Nationals prevailed to extend their season by at least one more game with a 5-0 win at Wrigley field tonight.
A very sick Strasburg took the mound tonight instead of Tanner Roark due to the game postponement. He set up to go head to head against Cubs pitcher, Jake Arrietta (3.53 ERA). If anyone thought that a virus would keep Stephen Strasburg from performing with his usual 110% effort and razor-like accuracy, they obviously don’t know Stephen Strasburg. He pitched 7 dominant innings and Michael A. Taylor hit a late grand slam to beat the Cubs and send the team back to DC for game 5.
Waking up resilient after confusion over whether or not he would be able to play, Strasburg struck out 12, only allowed three hits and two walks to redeem himself after Game 1. Not that he needed to. He pitched a similar game against Hendricks with 10 strikeouts and 3 hits, but two unlucky runs cost him the game.
Jake Arrieta of the Cubs had an equally impressive performance despite coming back from a hamstring injury. He walked 5 nats hitters in the first four innings and gave up one unearned run for the Nationals to lead 1-0. National League MVP Kris Bryant struck out four times against Strasburg and the team went 0 for 6. Lester’s performance got the Cubs through the 8th without any more runs but both efforts of Arrieta and Lester were wasted when Carl Edwards Jr. walked two in a row and threw one pitch to Taylor before being replaced by Davis. Davis then gave up a grand slam 1-1 pitch to Taylor who drove it into the basket over-hanging right field.
“I was just looking for a that good pitch… yeah the wind was blowing in tonight. I thought it was gonna come back but the net reached out and caught it.” – Michael A. Taylor on his grand slam home run
Ryan Madson brought the team through the 8th and Doolittle finished the 9th with no hits to end the game 5-0.
Gio Gonzalez is set to face Kyle Hendricks in Game 5 tomorrow with Scherzer as his reliever. If Gio can pull off the same shut out performance as Strasburg and our offense can continue take advantage of the mistakes/weaknesses portrayed by the Cubs bullpen in the 7th-8th innings, then we just might have a chance.