Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs

  • Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs

Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs

With the Nationals trailing the Cubs 3-1, and Washington facing the imminent threat of falling behind 2-0 in the NLDS, Bryce Harper stepped up.

Importantly, Lester induced a ton of weak contact in the form of groundballs and popups.

Now you're going to spend the next day, until the next game at 3 p.m. on Monday (TBS), seeing and hearing analysis about what the Cubs have to do to win the series, pitching matchups, why Javy Baez is slumping ... none of it will be why the Cubs go on to win or lose the series. As discussed before the series, they have everything they need to be a World Series victor and, apart from the injury tweaks to Harper and Scherzer, entered the postseason intact and firing.

WASHINGTON-Like any good D.C. politician, Bryce Harper has mastered the art of the pivot. He was just 3 for 18 in his final five regular-season games.

At what point did Zimmerman realize the ball was gone? He had nearly complete control over the Nationals. But again, the two-strike knocks, KB and Riz had hard first four at-bats combined, and after that they come up with two pretty big hits.

Normally in the postseason, it's the Nationals' bullpen that leaves its fans reaching for antacids and littering Twitter with first and second guesses. Kris Bryant smacked a double to left field leading off and Anthony Rizzo followed with a wind-aided, two-run homer to right for a 3-1 lead. The Cubs' pitcher was no match for his opposite in his first at-bat in the third inning. As we wrap up from Nats Park for tonight, check back tomorrow morning for a complete social recap of the Nationals' 6-3 victory!

Game 2 of this series will take place Saturday evening at 5:30 PM ET with Jon Lester on the mound for the Cubs, while Gio Gonzalez will get the start for Washington. "He's been around a lot of winning teams here". But he was able to stitch together outs using the motley crew he's been given, playing matchups with Albers, Solis and Perez. Carl Edwards Jr threw a flawless inning and Wade Davis finished the two-hitter for a save.

Still, through almost two full games of the series, nothing had changed. Lackey, a right-hander, has won three World Series titles, but he was only 12-12 with a 4.59 ERA this season for the NL Central champions. Then came disaster with the game-tying homer into the second deck in right.

Strasburg wound up allowing just those two unearned runs in seven innings, with three hits and one walk.

In many ways, 2017 was a disappointment for Lester.

Nationals this season with 36 homers and 108 RBIs. It was far from the performance expected of the team's $155 million ace. He didn't give up a run in his last 11 outings, which spanned 9 2/3 innings. A couple of times they've been declared the on-paper pennant and/or World Series victor, but never have they come close to the real-life accolades.

Until then, the Cubs managed only one baserunner, and that was via a walk. Perhaps more importantly, the blast - Harper's first extra-base hit since returning on September 25 from a knee injury that forced him to miss six weeks - seemed to open the flood gates for a Nats offense that was about to crumble under the pressure of the postseason, propelling the NL East champs to an epic 6-3 win and evening up the series.