NLDS Game 1, Cubs vs. Nationals: Highlights, recap and more

Washington Nationals

Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon, something of a goat in Game 1 of the NLDS the night before, got the Nats up and running in Game 2 with a solo home run against Jon Lester in the first inning of Game 2. Anthony Rizzo called him "the best pitcher I've seen, probably", and with good reason. "He knows what he's doing".

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Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was asked all week if, and how, Chicago's past playoff experience could help them against the Washington Nationals in the National League Division Series. Rizzo added a run-scoring double in the eighth off Ryan Madson. Closer Wade Davis polished off the shutout with a one-two-three ninth.

Strasburgh is showing what all the talk about him has been about. Strasburg almost worked out of it, getting Ben Zobrist to fly out to center field.

Strasburg will start Game 1 of the NLDS against the Cubs on Friday, Mark Gonzales of The Chicago Tribune reports.

If this was the first five months of the season, there'd be no reason to feel concerned. He walked three batters and struck out six.

Nothing was doing for them five innings into the game. "And they can do that with the tempo to where you don't even give the hitter a chance to breathe and figure out what pitch they're going even try to swing at".

The Cubs are assured of at least a split this weekend, and have Jon Lester going in Game 2 on Saturday. The bats have also really started to heat up. Baez advanced on a textbook sacrifice bunt by Hendricks.

"He's unbelievable. The confidence - the quiet confidence he brings to the field - it wears on people", Rizzo said.

Rizzo made it 2-0 when he lined another single to right field past Harper's diving attempt.

With a heavy beard and a lot of sweat on a muggy, 77-degree night, Strasburg dialed up his fastball to 98 miles per hour and mixed in an unhittable changeup. He tossed 7 innings, allowing 5 hits (2 home runs), 3 earned runs, and 2 walks while striking out five.

"You are aware of (him)". Wildfire Schultz had 25, but you knew that already.

The Cubs chose to go with two catchers instead of three, with Alex Avila backing up Willson Contreras.

To make matters worse the Nationals suspended assistant hitting coach Jacque Jones for legal issues just before the game. The team said the suspension is connected to a legal matter. No National League team has won back-to-back titles since the 1975-76 Cincinnati Reds, who had the Big Red Machine.

Because while these Cubs may not be quite as ferocious as the band that broke the franchise's 108-year World Series drought last fall, they're not exactly cuddly teddy bears, either. In his career, Lester is 2-1 with a 2.79 ERA and 49 strikeouts against Washington. There are injury concerns - Bryce Harper is back, but was rusty upon his return from the disabled list in late September, and Max Scherzer poised to pitch but dealing with a tender hamstring - but Dusty Baker has all manner of weapons at his disposal.

In a postseason where Corey Kluber, Chris Sale, Sonny Gray, Zack Greinke, and Luis Severino have all been knocked out of starts early, these two pitchers reminded everyone that pitching is still relevant in baseball.

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