Last night, Stephen Strasburg gave DC everything he had, and it was more than enough. Just the day before, every sports publication in the country was questioning not only his heart and character, but his willingness to pitch when the season is on the line.
By shaking off an illness to pitch seven dominant innings, Strasburg proved all the doubters wrong. He gave up three hits but had twelve K’s; all he needed with a 1-0 lead was the bullpen to come in and shut it down.
Before the Nationals first reliever could come out of the bullpen, the game had already been busted open by a grand slam on a wall scraper off the bat of none other than defensive sparkplug Michael A. Taylor.
The Nats brought Madson in for the 8th. No hits, no runs, same for his closer, Sean Doolittle. Shortly after Doolittle closed out Strasburg’s first career playoff win, the focus immediately shifted to the final game in Washington tonight.
Kyle Hendricks will take the bump for the defending World Champ Cubs. Washington manager Dusty Baker was very noncommittal when asked about who his Game 5 starter will be. Baker said, “You know, whoever it is, I hope they pitch like Stras did today.” I bet Dusty, I bet. Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark are the most likely candidates.
Jon Lester said it best: “It’s two heavyweights going at it… we’re going to figure it out and it’ll damn sure be exciting TV.”
I couldn’t agree more, Jon.
Tonight’s game will be on TBS and starts at 8:08 ET.