Sport MLB playoffs: Three takeaways from Cubs' series-clinching win over Nationals

09:13  13 october  2017
09:13  13 october  2017 Source:   Sporting News

Cubs' Hendricks to start Game 1 of NLDS against Nationals

  Cubs' Hendricks to start Game 1 of NLDS against Nationals Kyle Hendricks tops out at about 88 mph. He looks and talks more like a college professor than a professional baseball player. He is among the most anonymous players on the star-studded Chicago Cubs. He also is the Game 1 starter for the defending World Series champions.Hendricks gets the ball Friday night when Chicago visits the Washington Nationals for the opener of their NL Division Series. He also started its previous postseason game, helping the Cubs win in Cleveland in Game 7 for their first championship since 1908."Excited to get out there," Hendricks said Wednesday.

October 13, 2017 12:56am EDT October 13, 2017 12:56am EDT Baseball , MLB , Chicago Cubs , Washington Nationals With the marathon win , the Cubs The Cubs will now battle the well-rested Dodgers for a chance to make it back to the World Series . Here are three takeaways from Game 5

Here are three takeaways from the first postseason game of 2017. Playoff bound: Twins clinch Washington Nationals level series against Chicago Cubs . Google Fiber won ’t offer TV in San Antonio and Louisville. The Yankees are favored over the Twins in the first game of the 2017 MLB playoffs .

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The Cubs are headed back to the National League Championship Series after beating the Nationals 9-8 Thursday in Game 5 of the NLDS.

BOX SCORE: CUBS 9, NATIONALS 8

Chicago joined the Yankees as road warriors winning decisive Game 5s. Joe Maddon was forced to stretch his bullpen to the brink in Thursday's marathon of a game, but closer Wade Davis gutted out a seven-out save to secure the win.

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  NLDS: 'Been there, done that' Cubs vs. zero-series-won Nats As Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and the rest of the Chicago Cubs begin their bid for the franchise's first World Series championship in, um, one year — not quite the same panache to it as "more than a century," eh? — they'll take on Bryce Harper's Washington Nationals, a club with a brief history of postseason failures. The "been there, done that," as Cubs manager Joe Maddon put it before his team's workout at Nationals Park on Thursday, can matter."Coming into this postseason, we have a 'knowing' that we didn't have last year," Maddon said.

Sporting NewsMLB playoffs : Three takeaways from Nationals ' Game 2 NLDS win over the CubsSporting NewsThe Nationals just evened up the National League Division Series at one game apiece after a 6-3 win over the Cubs in Game 2 Saturday.

The Nationals forced a decisive Game 5 back in Washington with a 5-0 win over the Cubs .

Michael A. Taylor did his part for the Nationals, becoming the first player in postseason history to have consecutive games with at least four RBIs, but his towering second-inning home run off Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks wasn't enough to get the Nats to the NLCS.

The Cubs will now battle the well-rested Dodgers for a chance to make it back to the World Series.

Here are three takeaways from Game 5:

1. The Cubs' magic still lingers — North Chicago rejoiced last year when the Cubs erased 108 years of longing with a come-from-behind World Series win. They used a mixture of young talent, solid pitching and a heavy dose of Aroldis Chapman to get the job done.

Chapman is gone, so too, is leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler, but this Cubs team proved Thursday, on the road, that it still has some magic fairy dust left over from last year.

Nationals assistant hitting coach Jacque Jones suspended

  Nationals assistant hitting coach Jacque Jones suspended The Washington Nationals say that assistant hitting coach Jacque Jones has been suspended with pay pending an internal investigation. The team says the suspension is connected to a legal matter.The club announced Jones' suspension less than a half-hour before the scheduled first pitch of Game 1 of Washington's NL Division Series against the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs on Friday night.The 42-year-old Jones retired as a player in 2008 after 10 years with four teams.---More AP baseball: https://apnews.

MLB playoffs : Game times, TV, matchups for wild-card games and Division Series . Cubs eager to clinch division at Busch; Cardinals want to prevent it. MLB playoffs : Three takeaways from Diamondbacks' slugfest win over Rockies.

Led by National League Cy Young hopeful Kyle Hendricks' near-flawless performance, the Cubs Now they're heading to the World Series to face the Cleveland Indians and have a chance at winning baseball 's biggest series MORE: Cubs -Dodgers Game 6 analysis. Here are our three takeaways

This Cubs team seems to be missing the same spark and depth as last year, but they have been impressive this season trying to repeat as champions.

2. Max Scherzer should not have pitched — The reigning NL Cy Young award winner didn't start until Game 3 due to a nagging hamstring injury. He allowed just one run in 6 1/3 innings in that start, so it appeared the injury was behind him.

Dusty Baker decided to use Scherzer in relief Thursday, in what became one of the sloppiest innings of the postseason. Scherzer retired Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo to start the inning, but he didn't record the third out until after the Cubs had scored four runs. The Cubs batted around the order in the inning, scored on a Matt Wieters throwing error and scored a run when Scherzer hit Jon Jay with the bases loaded.

Even if Scherzer had pitched lights out and helped the Nats win the game, he wouldn't have been available early against the Dodgers. The Diamondbacks had just done the same thing with Robbie Ray and it put Arizona behind from the start. Scherzer should have been held out of this game.

Rep. Scalise, shot during Congress baseball practice, throws 1st pitch in D.C.

  Rep. Scalise, shot during Congress baseball practice, throws 1st pitch in D.C. The National League Division Series began with a powerful moment in the nation's capital. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) - who was shot while practicing for the annual Congressional baseball game in June - threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Friday's series opener between the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs at Nationals Park.

MLB playoffs : Three takeaways from Nationals ' Game 2 NLDS win over the Cubs . The Nationals just evened up the National League Division Series at one game

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3. Cubs needed Addison Russell and Willson Contreras to finally step up, and they did — Russell entered Game 5 with more than twice as many strikeouts (seven) as hits (two) in 14 at-bats this series. But he made up for the slow start with two key hits Thursday night.

Russell doubled in the fifth inning off Scherzer, scoring two runs to help the Cubs take the lead. He then doubled again in the sixth inning, scoring Ben Zobrist. Russell ended the day 2 for 4 with a walk and four RBIs. The Cubs will need him to remain hot against the Dodgers.

Contreras went 1 for 3 with two walks and two runs scored Thursday after entering the game with two hits in 11 at-bats. Contreras went on a power surge during the second half of the regular season. The Cubs could use some more of that moving forward to support Bryant and Rizzo.

Highlight:

Russell's two-run double off Scherzer:

What's Next:

The Cubs will face the Dodgers in the NLCS. Los Angeles will start Clayton Kershaw in Game 1 on Saturday, as it tries to reach the World Series for the first time since 1988.

Report: Stephen Strasburg Expected to Pitch Game 4 vs. Cubs

  Report: Stephen Strasburg Expected to Pitch Game 4 vs. Cubs After a confusing 24 hours of probable pitcher news from the Nationals camp, Stephen Strasburg is now expected to make a Game 4 start on Wednesday afternoon, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network. Game 4 was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but rain in Chicago led the game to be postponed one day. There was some surprise when Nationals manager Dusty Baker revealed that Tanner Roark was likely to start Wednesday instead of Strasburg, who was apparently feeling ill and declined the opportunity to start on four days’ rest.

Chicago won the series three games to one. MORE: Top NLDS photos | Ten greatest Cubs players of all time. Anthony Rizzo put Chicago ahead for good with a solo home run off Kevin Siegrist in the sixth. Here are our five takeaways from Game 4

The Cubs hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to clinch at home Tuesday. Here are our five takeaways from Game 3 4. The Cubs are winning with youth and inexperience. Let's start with Jorge Soler. After coming off the bench for the Cubs ' first two playoff games, Soler is now the hottest

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Cubs confident they can make Dodgers sweat .
The Chicago Cubs have a history of coming from behind when their season is on the line. If the Cubs -- who erased a three-games-to-one deficit in the 2016 World Series to capture their first championship since 1908 -- are to return to the Fall Classic, they will have to pull off a comeback achieved just once in baseball history.A 6-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series on Tuesday night put the Cubs within a loss of being eliminated.

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