WASHINGTON — On the All-Star break, the Cubs appeared like defending champions about as a lot as “Baywatch” resembled “The Godfather.” However the Cubs turned it round and completed the season on a forty nine-25 run, the most effective mark within the Nationwide League after the break.
Down the stretch, proper-hander Kyle Hendricks had rather a lot to do with it. He solely managed three wins since late July, however he was robust each time.
Virtually as robust as he was Friday in his NLDS Recreation 1 matchup with the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg. Washington’s righty obtained extra consideration, acquired the popularity. However on this matchup, Hendricks received the victory.
Hendricks pitched seven scoreless, two-hit innings utilizing sinkers and alter-ups and principally higher 80s fastballs and the Cubs, scoring two unearned runs, obtained a pair of Anthony Rizzo RBIs in a three-zero victory within the opener of the perfect-of-5 collection at Nationals Park.
“They’re the most effective lineups on this league,” Hendricks stated Thursday of the Nationals, however placing his Cubs on the identical aircraft. “Making an attempt to assault that lineup, you’ve received to make good pitches. You’ve obtained to be locked down each single pitch. Each a type of guys has an opportunity to beat you.”
However none of them might as Hendricks matched Strasburg.
“All you’re targeted on is making pitches,” Hendricks stated. “That’s my job and it by no means modifications, regardless of common-season recreation, postseason recreation, regardless of who you’re dealing with on the opposite aspect of the mound.”
Hendricks, in his 106-pitch effort, walked three, hit one, struck out six. Strasburg, throwing eighty one pitches, fanned 10 and gave up three hits, one stroll and two unearned runs.
The Cubs’ first hit produced the primary run of the collection. After which there was one other hit. And one other run. Each runs have been unearned.
Strasburg and Hendricks hung up zeroes by way of 5 innings with Strasburg not permitting successful. However the sixth started with a hiccup — or main belch because it turned out.
Javier Baez, the Cubs’ co-NLCS MVP final yr with Jon Lester (who will begin Recreation 2), despatched a grounder to Anthony Rendon at third. Rendon merely muffed the play for an error. Hendricks sacrificed. A fly out later and the gang relaxed a bit. The Cubs didn’t as Bryant singled to proper, scoring Baez. Bryant took second on the throw and the Nationals challenged a protected name at second. The decision stood.
Rizzo subsequent despatched a sinking liner to proper. Bryce Harper dove, however couldn’t…