Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman homer to give Nationals the lead

Stephen Strasburg's brilliance can't save Nats from their October issues

The Chicago Cubs took care of business Friday night, defeating the Washington Nationals 3-0.

For much of Game 2, the Chicago Cubs appeared firmly in control. The pitching match-up will be Jon Lester vs Gio Gonzalez, who the Cubs have a history of knocking around. And we could appreciate the impressive catch without the drawback of controversy around it. "It's a little bit harder now than if we win this game".

Lester, a three-time World Series victor, kept the Nationals' powerful lineup at bay with his typical postseason savvy.

Give a large measure of credit to Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks.

Maybe the Nationals really missed Jacque Jones - the team's assistant hitting coach suspended before the start of the game for some sort of legal issue.

Barnes' hit came in handy because of a three-run pinch-hit homer in the seventh inning by Arizona's Brandon Drury that silenced - at least momentarily - a blue towel-waving sellout crowd. We've got Max coming in Game 3... Unlike Strasburg, Hendricks has never been an All-Star. Strasburg posted ERAs of 1.89 in July, 0.86 in August and 0.38 in September. That was the second lowest ERA after the all-star break in Major League Baseball history, behind Arrieta's 0.75 ERA in 2015.

His only playoff start came in 2014, a loss in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Giants.

Bryce Harper shifted the mood, and Ryan Zimmerman sealed the game, but for me, the single from Adam Lind was the difference.

"You're aware of it", Hendricks said about Strasburg.

Strasburg pumped in strikes while delivering 97-98 miles per hour heaters, sharp breaking balls and change-ups.

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

The kid from Dartmouth relies on a fastball that on a good day reaches 88 miles per hour — about 10 miles per hour slower than Strasburg's — and a deceptive changeup.

"Because the velocity is ticking up". "Maybe more than on anyone - ever". "After the third inning I started dialing it in". But after seeing Harper's ball detonate midway up the second deck, who's to say what's possible?

"I believe that he's built for those moments", said his father, Ron.

In time Turner will learn to have a better at-bat in that situation, but considering the fact he has walked just 48 times in 759 career at-bats he still has a ways to go.

"It's like when you have a vehicle accident". It's not on goal. So on Thursday, they got together to film the PSA in hopes of helping their hometown recover from the devastating tragedy.

Rendon had seven errors during the season, fielding.979. "And sometimes it takes kind of just one hit for everyone to exhale". "They got three, two-strike, two-out hits, and that was the ballgame".

Hendricks bunted Baez to second.

For the second day in a row, Scherzer threw on flat ground in the outfield but did not go through a bullpen session off a mound, which starters usually do two or three days before a game. Even the "old man" of the core group, Anthony Rizzo, is only 28 and signed until 2020. After a quick review the home run stood and Cubs fans could celebrate. He jogged down the line and pointed to a dugout filled with wide-eyed teammates, their arms outstretched, their suffering eased with one timely act. "What year is it this year?"

"A big part of it is you have to know how to lose", Montgomery said.

"This is as good as I've seen him".

WASHINGTON-Like any good D.C. politician, Bryce Harper has mastered the art of the pivot. Harper singled in his first at-bat, struck out, flied out and popped out.

Earlier this week, Nationals manager Dusty Baker said the postseason was "hero" time.

And now, we have a series.

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