NLDS: Pitcher’s Duel in Wrigley
The Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs continue to go against the 2017 postseason grain. While fast offensive starts and balls flying over the fence have just become the norm in this year’s playoffs, the Nats and Cubs have combined for 15 runs through the first three games of their NLDS series. To put it in perspective, the Astros and Red Sox combined to score 33 runs in their first three games and the Yankees and Indians combined for 22 even with one team getting shut out in two of those three games.
With that being said, the two clubs took the series long pitching duel one step further in game three. Two big name starters toed the rubber in this one as Max Scherzer squared off with Jose Quintana. With the series tied at one a piece, both hurlers were set to bring their best to the mound, and they delivered.
The game was scoreless until the top of the sixth and Quintana had only allowed two hits and walked one up until that point. Kyle Schwarber committed an error that allowed Daniel Murphy to reach and that was the end of the line for Quintana. It was a move that this writer found to be a little curious as Quintana had retired six straight to that point, four of which came via the strikeout. Nevertheless, Pedro Strop came in to replace him and surrendered an RBI double to Ryan Zimmerman.
With a 1-0 lead in hand, Nationals starter Max Scherzer had still not allowed a hit as we entered the seventh. Scherzer struck out Willson Contreras before allowing a double to Ben Zobrist. After the hit, the Nationals ace was immediately replaced by Sammy Solis. Solis allowed two singles to the next two hitters, the first of which drove in Zobrist to tie the game, and was pulled before he could even record an out. Brandon Kintzler would come in and get an inning ending double play on a caught line drive that doubled off Jason Heyward on just his second pitch.
The Cubs would play a little small ball in the bottom of the eighth and would eventually get an RBI single from Anthony Rizzo that would end up being the game winning run. Wade Davis would then come in and get the Nationals three up, three down in the top of the ninth to secure the 2-1 victory and get his second save of the postseason.