Nationals waste a Strasburg gem — LOVERRO

Stephen Strasburg's brilliance can't save Nats from their October issues

He assessed his team, its chances, the ingredients necessary. Will Harper build on his moment? Flip a series. It was all but over, Cubs in a walk. "Who knows?" Zimmerman said.

Harper took advantage of a fluttering curveball left over the plate by reliever Carl Edwards Jr.

"Honestly, he's feeling really good", Maddon said.

Before the eighth inning at Nationals Park, the Nationals were shriveling. Wilson struggled much of the time since the Cubs obtained him in a deadline deal with Detroit.

Game Two is Saturday at 4:38 p.m. They were unable to get a hit nearly at all.

Where were the heroes? Edwards came on to pitch the eighth. "There's this pressure for him".

If fact, Edwards said he made that pitch "a few times" throughout the season but "got away with it". They finally have Stephen Strasburg.

The Nationals managed to pull out a 1-1 series record at home before going to Chicago. Gio Gonzalez will start, but everyone at the Nationals' head office will most likely be holding their collective breath in fear of how badly this decision could turn out. Quintana has never pitched in the postseason in his career.

"I was just coming in, didn't want it to get past me", Harper said.

Their best player, Kris Bryant, is 25 years old, makes $1.05 million a year (peanuts in MLB) and won't be a free agent until 2022.

His point, however indelicately: Dire spot for us? Saturday night's outing should give them confidence that he's up to that task.


There was, first, the issue of the at-bat.

His shot off a 93 miles per hour fastball was hardly the no-doubter Harper's drive was, but on an evening in which balls carried in 12 miles per hour wind - every run scored on a homer - this one barely cleared the green wall in left field. The Cubs got on the board after Anthony Rendon mishandled a grounder transferring it to his throwing hand. Maddon stuck with Edwards. It was certainly the right pitch selection and as I said, I hung it. Eyeroll implied. Feel free to laugh.

WASHINGTON-Like any good D.C. politician, Bryce Harper has mastered the art of the pivot.

So that ugly swing?

General manager Mike Rizzo said the team would not decide on a Game 2 starter until later Thursday.

Update IV: Bryce. Harper. After Jayson Werth and Matt Wieters flied out, Lester became a bit unnerved as Zimmer stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. "Right man, right spot". At 3-1, what would be next?

I alluded to it earlier, but leaving Washington with the series knotted is probably what we all hoped for going into Friday. I thought about taking the whole way.

"Joe Maddon has always been there for me", Hendricks said.

Harper's hardest swing can be the most ferocious, devastating swing in the game. The picture of Max Scherzer that sits well back on the second deck - one eye blue, one eye brown - has long seemed a preposterous target. "And sometimes it takes kind of just one hit for everyone to exhale".

Said Hendricks: "Maybe not the best ever, but it was up there".

Maybe that's true. But he would also have it no other way. "I saw Zobrist keep going back. No matter what happens around him, he's the same". It's about catching the ball, which Washington didn't do well all season (minus-37 runs saved, worst among playoff teams), and which Rendon didn't do when he needed to.

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