Cubs eliminate Nationals in wild, wacky NLDS Game 5: Final score, things to know
9-8 in Game 5 of the National League Division Series (GameTracker). The Cubs now move on to the NL Championship Series, in which they’ll play the
Los Angeles Dodgers
. The Nationals, meanwhile, head home for winter.
Here’s what you need to know about the game.
A tilt-a-whirl game
This was an insane, sloppy, entertaining game. The Nationals led 4-1 after two, then later trailed 8-4 heading into their part of the sixth. The two sides would continue trading blows from there. The Nationals would make it 8-6 through six. Then the Cubs made it 9-6 in the seventh before the Nationals answered with a run in each of the seventh and eighth innings. Entering the ninth, it was a 9-8 affair and the game felt wide open.
Consider that the two sides combined to use 14 pitchers. That they combined for 23 hits. That the Nationals’ backup catcher was picked off first base to end the eighth inning. That
was brought in for a seven-out save despite having not recorded so much as a six-out appearance all season. That Davis overcome certain fatigue to somehow hang onto the lead — it wasn’t pretty, but he nonetheless was able to retire
to end the game, and the Nationals season.
This was, in other words, an at-times ugly game to watch and a near-constant thrilling one to experience.
Nats melt down by the rarest of sequences
Baseball is an old sport in which new sequences still do happen — but when they do, they’re notable. One such new sequence took place in the top of the fifth inning.
The Cubs saw four consecutive batters reach: one by an intentional walk, one on a passed-ball strikeout, one on catcher’s interference, and the fourth on a hit-by-pitch. Those four events have never happened before in the same half-inning, at least not in the more than 2.7-million half-innings in Baseball Reference’s database:
The fact that only five games — not innings, games — have ever had all four events. That’s not in the same half-inning, that’s not in a row, none of it. The Cubs somehow pulled that off, seemingly for the first time in the history of the sport. That’s cool. And wild.
Not without controversy
By the way, that passed-ball strikeout? Expect to hear talk about whether the play was correctly officiated by the umpiring staff. The batter,
, hit the catcher,
, in the mask with his follow-through. Yet the umpires allowed play to continue, and that cost the Nationals. Wieters and Dusty Baker tried explaining what had happened, but to no avail.
For more on that play, consider giving Mike Axisa’s breakdown of the wild fifth inning a read-over.
Another odd part about the above sequence? It came with two outs against
, who could well win the NL Cy Young Award.
Scherzer entered in the top of the fifth inning and dispatched
with little trouble. From there, the wheels came off — not because Scherzer was allowing hard contact, but because everything broke against him. Scherzer finished his night having officially allowed three hits and four runs (just two earned). He struck out a batter and walked another.
Hendricks’ streak ends
We haven’t addressed Cubs starter
much. He had a rough night, getting knocked around to the tune of nine hits and four runs in seven innings. As it turns out, Hendricks had held the opposition to two runs or fewer in seven consecutive postseason starts. If he’d done that again on Thursday, he would’ve tied the longest such streak in history. Alas, that record will remain Curt Schilling’s and Curt Schilling’s alone:
Baez throws out Turner
In the first inning,
reached base on a grounder that Javier Baez had no play on. Later on in the frame, Turner tried scoring from third on a ball hit to Baez. That, ladies and gentlemen, did not go well for the Nationals. Instead, Baez was able to make a strong throw home and
was able to apply an in-time tag to keep Turner from scoring:
Cubs move on, starter questions in tow
Next on the docket for the Cubs? The NLCS against the Dodgers. Game 1 will take place on Saturday night from Los Angeles. The Dodgers will tap
for that start. The Cubs, well … that’s less certain.
Joe Maddon used
in relief in Game 5, and started Kyle Hendricks. Neither is going to be available for the subsequent Game 1. Likewise, both
seem out of the question after appearing for prolonged outings on Wednesday. That leaves
, who has not appeared this postseason, as the most likely candidate.
On the season, the Cubs were 2-4 against the Dodgers. Should history repeat itself, the Cubs will fail to repeat as World Series champions.