The Washington Nationals won last night’s game, shutting out the Cubs 5-0.
It wasn’t clear whether Washington starter Stephen Strasburg could even pitch yesterday until the morning of the game due to an illness. Once the game started though, it was obvious the Nats hurler was feeling up to stuff last night, going seven strong while allowing zero runs on three hits and two walks, along with 12 strikeouts to boot. The Nationals bullpen was just as effective, holding the Cubs to only a single baserunner over the course of two innings.
Meanwhile, though their lineup wasn’t looking much better than Chicago’s, Washington put up five runs on five hits, largely thanks to a grand slam by center fielder Michael A. Taylor in the eighth inning. Both teams will look to give their offenses a charge tonight as they face elimination in a do or die game five matchup.
Game Starters 5 – Kyle Hendricks (RHP) vs Gio Gonzalez (LHP)
This will be Kyle Hendricks’ second postseason start this year. In his first he pitched seven innings, allowing no runs on only two hits and three walks, striking out six. The Cubs would win that game 3-0 over Washington in Game 1. In his postseason career, the right-hander has recorded a 1.98 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 41 innings pitched, striking out 36. Besides last week’s start, he has pitched against Washington once during the regular season, giving up three earned runs on five hits, including two home runs, in seven innings.
Gonzalez has made one start so far in this division series and it was a rocky one, allowing three runs on three hits including two home runs in five innings pitched. He also struck out six and walked two in the outing. The lefty’s career postseason stats aren’t much more impressive, posting a 4.24 ERA and 1.37 WHIP in 23.1 innings. In one other start against the Cubs during the regular season, he went six strong, allowing one run on two hits, striking out eight and walking five.
|Cubs Lineup||Home Runs||Batting Average||On-Base Percentage|
|Jon Jay, LF||0||.143||.333|
|Kris Bryant, 3B||0||.200||.250|
|Anthony Rizzo, 1B||1||.267||.313|
|Willson Contreras, C||1||.182||.400|
|Albert Almora Jr., CF||0||.200||.200|
|Addison Russell, SS||0||.143||.200|
|Jason Heyward, RF||0||.250||.400|
|Javier Baez, 2B||0||.000||.100|
|Nationals Lineup||Home Runs||Batting Average||On-Base Percentage|
|Trea Turner, SS||0||.067||.176|
|Jayson Werth, LF||0||.071||.188|
|Bryce Harper, RF||1||.133||.235|
|Ryan Zimmerman, 1B||1||.188||.235|
|Daniel Murphy, 2B||0||.125||.176|
|Anthony Rendon, 3B||1||.143||.294|
|Matt Wieters, C||0||.000||.286|
|Michael A. Taylor, CF||1||.273||.385|
|Gio Gonzalez, P||0||.000||.000|
Who’s Hot, and Who’s Not
Anthony Rizzo leads the Cubs in batting average in this division series with a mark of .267. He has gone 4 for 15 in four games with two extra bases hits and five RBIs. While Willson Contreras has been struggling to make solid contact, his .400 OBP is tied for best in the lineup thanks to his team-leading four walks.
Kris Bryant and Addison Russell are a combined 5 for 29 with 16 strikeouts and two walks in the playoffs. Javy Baez has gone hitless in nine at-bats and has struck out three times. Other than Rizzo, no Cubs hitter has driven in over one run against the Nationals.
Michael A. Taylor has been far and away the best Nats hitter in the postseason although that’s not saying much. After last night’s grand slam, the center fielder has gone 3 for 11 in the last four games with two walks and four RBIs. He is the only Washington batter with at least 10 at-bats hitting over .200 in this division series.
Trea Turner has been struggling to get anything going, going a combined 1 for 15 against the Cubs in the first four games of the series. He has five times as many strikeouts as he does hits so far. Jayson Werth has fared little better, also gathering just a single hit in four games, while striking out three times. The heart of the Nationals order in Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, and Daniel Murphy has gone a collective 7for 47 with six RBIs and only three extra-base hits.
Prediction: Cubs 4 – 1 Nationals
Washington may have stayed alive last night but if you take away one swing of the bat by Taylor, then their victory becomes much less decisive. Meanwhile, the Cubs will toss out a seasoned playoff veteran in Hendricks who has done nothing but dominate in October. Look for the Nationals bats to continue to struggle as Chicago strings together enough runs to hold on for the win.
Where to Watch
Tonight’s game starts at 8:00 p.m. EST and will be broadcast on TBS.
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