The Chicago Cubs defeated the Washington Nationals 3-0 in Game 1 of the NLDS.
The story of the 2017 MLB Postseason was runs. Friday night in Washington D.C., it was pitching and defense. Through five innings, there was little action unless you were a ball being pitched. Both Kyle Hendricks of the Cubs and Stephen Strasburg of the National were dealing early.
Every pitch for Stasburg found the strike zone early, as he struck out seven of the first 12 he faced. Hendricks’ pitches nibbled around the plate, keeping the Nationals batters off-balance. The kept the Cubs hitless through five.
The top of the sixth inning is where the Cubs broke through. An error by Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon saw a ball misplayed at third, allowing Javier Baez to get a base. Hendricks sacrificed Baez to second, and Kris Bryant drove him in with a double. Then Rizzo followed with a RBI single. It took the crowd out of the game, and the air out of the Nationals.
For the Nationals, their bats remained quiet. Both hits came in the first two innings. The vaunted quartet of Harper, Rendon, Daniel Murphy, and Ryan Zimmerman were a combined 1-for-14, and 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position. Zimmerman was called out for running out of the baseline trying to reach first after a ball in the dirt in the bottom of the ninth.
- Kyle Hendricks: The professor kept his cool through a few tough situations. After the Cubs scored two runs, Hendricks got through the heart of the Nationals’ lineup unscathed. He finished the seventh without allowing a run.
- Stephen Strasburg: In the second postseason start of his career, Strasburg was sharp. While the Cubs notched two runs, neither were earned of the star pitcher. He finished allowing three hits, one walk, and 10 strikeouts.
- Anthony Rizzo: One of the best two-strike batters in the game, Rizzo came through with a two-out, two-strike opposite-field RBI double to stretch the lead to three runs. He went 2-for-4, with 2 RBI.
The Cubs and Nationals face off again on Saturday afternoon. Game 2 of the NLDS will be televised on TBS starting at 5:30 pm Eastern Time. Jon Lester takes the mound for the Cubs, while Gio Gonzalez goes for the Nationals.