Wow. What a game it was Thursday night in the nation’s capital. Game 5 of the NLDS between the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals lived up to the hype.
Let’s just jump to the action shall we? There was quite a bit of it.
The Cubs would get the ball rolling in the first. After a leadoff double by Jon Jay and a wild pitch from starter Gio Gonzalez, Anthony Rizzo would drive in Jay with a ground out to seconda��quickly giving Chicago a 1-0 lead.
Just an inning later, the Nationals would start their engine. And of course, it would be the a�?Cubs Killera�? Daniel Murphya��starting the second inning off with a solo homer to right and tying the game at one run apiece.
Hendricks would continue to struggle in the second, allowing both Anthony Rendon and Matt Wieters to reach basea��giving Michael A. Taylor a chance to give the Nationals the lead. Taylor did just that, blasting a three-run homer to left field. Just like that, the Nationals led 4-1. However, this is the postseason we’re talking about here. Of course this was far from over.
The Cubs would chip away in the third with an Addison Russell RBI groundout, bringing the score to 4-2. That wasn’t it, however, for the third inning or the Cubs. Another wild pitch from Gonzalez would allow another run to score. Suddenly, it was 4-3.
After three innings, Gio Gonzalez was done. Dusty Baker felt like he had seen enough after Gonzalez gave up three runs (all earned) and walked four.
So in the fifth, the Nationals would bring in their big guna��Max Scherzer. Scherzer would enter and promptly put away both Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. Then, the craziness happened.
Willson Contreras would single on an infield hit to Trea Turner at short. Then Ben Zobrist, who was pinch-hitting for Albert Almora Jr., singled as wella��putting runners at first and second for the Cubs. Addison Russell would come up next, roping a double down the left field line to score both Contreras and Zobrist and give the Cubs a 5-4 lead.
Then the Nationals would decide to intentionally walk Jason Heyward to face the struggling Javier BA?ez. It immediately got weirder.
Max Scherzer would get his strikeout but the ball got passed Matt Wieters. Then BA?ez would get all the way to second on a throwing error from Wieters. Tommy La Stella would pinch hit for Kyle Hendricks (who lasted four innings, striking out seven and giving up four runs) and reach on a catcher’s interferencea��loading the bases. Scherzer would continue to struggle, hitting Jon Jay with a pitch and forcing in a run.
By the end of the top half of the fifth, the Cubs led 7-4.
Scherzer would only last one inning, giving up four runs (only two earned), striking out one and giving up three hits.
Chicago tacked on in the sixth with another Addison Russell double off of reliever Brandon Kintzler scoring Ben Zobrist. This was a strange play too, as it appeared that Jayson Werth lost the ball in the lights and missed it on a diving attempt. Chicago now led 8-4.
But Washington would finally show life once again in the sixth. Reliever Mike Montgomery tossed a wild pitch allowing Jayson Werth to score and advancing Bryce Harper to third. Ryan Zimmerman walked, bringing up Murphy once again. Murphy would follow with a double to left scoring Harper. The scorea��Chicago 8, Washington 6.
The Cubs would score their ninth and final run in the top half of the seven inning with a Kris Bryant fielders choice scoring Kyle Schwarber from thirda��adding insurance.
Washington refused to go away, though. In the bottom half of the seventh. Bryce Harper came up against JosA� Quintana (relieving Carl Edwards Jr., who continued to struggle). Quintana got Harper to fly out to center but a run would score as Michael A. Taylor tagged from third. The Nationals continued to claw, now trailing by just two. Joe Maddon would go to his pen again, this time bringing in closer Wade Davis for a seven-out save.
He’d promptly strike out Ryan Zimmerman to end the Nationals’ threat in the seventh.
But Washington would score another in the eighth, this time off a Michael A. Taylor single. The Next batter, Jose LobatA?n, singled as wella��moving Taylor to second. Then Cubs’ catcher Willson Contreras happened. Contreras, like he has done all year, would pick off LobatA?n at first base. LobatA?n was ruled safe at first. But after a review, it was revealed that his foot did come off of the bag. Thus, he was called out, and the eighth inning was over.
The Cubs came up empty in the top half of the ninth. Then it was up to Wade Davis to close the door on the top of the order. Davis did just that, getting Trea Turner to fly out, Jayson Werth to strike out and Bryce Harper to strike out as wella��to end the game.
In a game filled with excitement, drama and emotion the Cubs prevailed. Now they’re heading to their third straight NLCS. The Nationals continue to struggle in the NLDS, however. They still have not found a way to move on in the postseason.
Chicago will face off with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night in Game 1 of the NLCS.
For the Cubs, it’s just beginning. But for the Nationals, they are going home once againa��having to wonder how this keeps happening.