After dominant outings by Aníbal Sánchez and Max Scherzer in the first two games of the NLCS with the St. Louis Cardinals on the road in Busch Stadium, the Washington Nationals got another solid start in third game of the series, with Stephen Strasburg tossing seven strong at home in the nation’s capital, striking out 12 of the 28 batters he faced in a 117-pitch effort in what ended up an 8-1 win which gave the Nats a 3-0 lead.
Strasburg vs the Cardinals: Stephen Strasburg held the Cardinals to a run on six hits in 6 2⁄3 IP in Nationals Park in early May, walking two batters and striking out nine, then he allowed three hits, four walks, and two earned runs in five innings of work on the mound in Busch Stadium when he faced St. Louis again in late September, leaving him with a 2.31 ERA, six walks, 15 Ks, and a .214/.313/.286 line against in 11 2⁄3 IP vs the Cards this season.
The St. Louis Cardinals aren’t backed into a corner yet, but it’s getting close. Before there’s too much panic around St. Louis, take a listen to what Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith has to say about fixing the Cardinals offense.
He joined our Tom Ackerman on Monday at 2 p.m. for his daily “Around the Horn” segment that can be heard every weekday on KMOX at that time during the Cardinals playoff run. Click here to listen to the previous episode.
Here are a few thoughts The Wizard had on the Cardinals going into Game 3 of the NLCS:
- Some of Cardinals Nation wanted Washington instead of the Los Angeles Dodgers, but they’ve learned to be careful what you wish for. The Nationals pitching has really carried them all year. The Cardinals have hit a bad stretch at the wrong time.
- A comeback is not going to be easy, but we’re going to get a chance to see what this team is made of. It’s a gut check. Smith says it’s just about going out there and doing what you’re capable of doing. If you don’t, you find can start booking your fishing trips.
Related: Only 1 team in MLB history has come back from 0-2 in the NLCS – The Cardinals
- When things go bad, you need to go back to the fundamentals of the game. Watch the ball, see the ball. Hopefully, they can see the ball a little bit better and be more disciplined at the plate in Game 3 and beyond.
- Smith hopes the run production for Jack Flaherty is some semblance of what he got last time out – 10 runs in the first inning. If it does, we’re going to have ourselves a great series.
Game 3 of the NLCS starts at 6:38 p.m. tonight in Washington. Listen to pregame coverage starting at 5:43 p.m. on KMOX 1120 AM — the only place to hear Mike Shannon, John Rooney and Ricky Horton.
In three postseason appearances before tonight, two of them starts, one in relief, the Nats’ 31-year-old right-hander was (2-0) with a 2.40 ERA, one walk, 21 Ks, and a .204/.214/.370 line against in 15 IP going into Game 3 of the NLCS.
Strasburg retired the Cardinals in order in a 10-pitch first, and worked around a double in the top of the second, before retiring the side in order in the third, and he came back out in the fourth with a 4-0 lead and worked around back-to-back, two-out hits for a scoreless, 20-pitch frame which left him at 66 pitches total.
After working around a one-out single, and picking up two Ks in a 14-pitch fifth, Strasburg was up to seven Ks from 19 batters faced, with 80 pitches total on the night.
It was 6-0 in the sixth when the right-hander came back out and retired the side in order, striking out two more in a 10-pitch frame that left him with nine Ks and 90 pitches overall.
Strasburg took the mound with a 7-0 lead in the seventh and gave up back-to-back singles by José Martínez and Yadier Molina, as he went over 100 pitches, but he got Tommy Edman swinging with a 2-2 change for the first out before Paul DeJong lined a single to left field, on which Juan Soto fell down, before making a wild throw in, allowing the first run of the game to score for the Cards, 7-1.
Strasburg got pinch hitter Matt Wieters swinging for out No. 2, and struck Dexter Fowler out to end a 27-pitch frame which left him at 117 pitches total with 12 Ks from 28 batters faced.
Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 12 Ks, 117 P, 84 S, 4/2 GO/FO.
Flaherty vs the Nationals: Cardinals’ righty Jack Flaherty finished his second full season in the majors with a 2.75 ERA, 55 walks, 231 Ks, and a .192/.256/.335 line against in 196 1⁄3 IP, and the 23-year-old, 2014 1st Round pick made two starts in the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves, giving up four earned runs combined in 13 IP in those outings, walking two and striking out 16.
Flaherty, 23, was dominant in the second half of the 2019 campaign, putting up a 0.91 ERA, 23 walks, 124 Ks, and a .142/.208/.217 line against in his final 15 starts and 99 1⁄3 IP.
Going into Game 3 of the NLCS, trailing 2-0, Cards’ skipper Mike Shildt said he was happy to have the Cardinals’ ace on the mound.
“This series is far from over,” Shildt said.
“And we have a guy going that’s one of the best guys — and really the best guy in baseball [in the] second half, undisputed going for us on Monday. I’m very optimistic still about this series.”
Flaherty tossed two scoreless and hitless innings to start tonight’s game, but Victor Robles singled to start the third, took second on a sac bunt, and scored on a two-out single off of Adam Eaton’s bat, 1-0.
Eaton scored on a soft liner to left by Anthony Rendon in the next at bat, when Marcell Ozuna came up empty on a sliding attempt in left field, 2-0.
A walk to Juan Soto and a wild pitch with Howie Kendrick at the plate moved both runners into scoring position, and Kendrick lined a two-run double to right field to bring Rendon and Soto home to make it 4-0.
Jack Flaherty’s Line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks, 78 P, 49 S, 5/0 GO/FO.
Turn-on; Rend-on: Trea Turner started the night with a 20-game on-base streak going, which went all the way back to September 17th, and over which he had a .330 AVG with a total of nine doubles, six home runs, 11 RBIs, four walks, three steals, and 18 runs scored.
Anthony Rendon started Game 3 of the NLCS with a six-game postseason hit streak going, over which he was 9 for 20 (.450/.519/.750) with three doubles, a home run, five walks, and three Ks.
Rendon doubled to drive in a run in the third, extending his postseason hit streak to seven straight games. Rendon was 2 for 2 with a walk and two runs scored after he singled in the bottom of the fifth.
Turner was 0 for 4 through six, but he walked in the eighth to extend his on-base streak to 21-straight games.
BULLPEN ACTION: Cards’ lefty Tyler Webb took over in the bottom of the fifth, and got two outs around a single by Anthony Rendon, at which point John Brebbia took over with Howie Kendrick at the plate, and Kendrick doubled to left-center to drive Rendon in and make it a 5-0 game. Ryan Zimmerman followed with an RBI double to left, 6-0.
Brebbia came back out in the bottom of the sixth, and gave up a leadoff blast to right field by Victor Robles on a 2-1 fastball that cleared the out-of-town scoreboard in right field to make it a 7-0 game.
Génesis Cabrera came on for the Cards one out after Robles’s blast, and got the final two outs of the inning.
It was 7-1 in the bottom of the seventh, when Daniel Ponce de Leon gave up a two-out double by Howie Kendrick (3 for 4, 3 2B, 3 RBIs) and an RBI single by Ryan Zimmerman, whose second hit of the game made it an 8-1 lead for the Nats.
Fernando Rodney picked up two Ks in a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 top of the eighth inning.
Ponce de Leon gave up a two-out walk to Trea Turner in the bottom of the eighth inning, but stranded him at first.
Tanner Rainey came on in the ninth, dialed up a few triple-digit fastballs, and retired the Cardinals in order to end it…
Final Score: 8-1 Nationals
Nationals lead the Cardinals 3-0 in the NLCS.