While the phrase “Game 5” may not carry the ring of “Game 7”, it’s still elimination. Today the Washington Nationals play the Chicago Cubs for the right to move on to the NLCS to face the Los Angeles Dodgers.
After a lot of time was spent tearing Washington manager Dusty Baker apart from claiming that Tanner Roark would start Game 4, someone in the Nationals organization came to their senses and ace righty Stephen Strasburg pitched. He shook off his illness and showed for seven excellent innings. Strasburg and outfielder Michael Taylor hitting a grand slam powered the Nationals to a win in Game 4, to force the decisive Game 5.
This post will be spent diving into the players that could be the reason the Nationals move on in the postseason. A one-game sample size, especially in baseball, is crazy small. Anything can happen and given the random nature of these games, it can be the player you least expect that rises up. Game 5 of the ALDS provided the perfect example of this. The Yankees had all their runs driven in by shortstop Didi Gregorius and outfielder Brett Gardner. Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez went silent but the Yankees still moved on.
Here are the players who could carry the Nationals through.