Oct 11, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Sean Doolittle throws a pitch in the 9th inning against the Chicago Cubs during game four of the 2017 NLDS playoff baseball series at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Strasburg and Nationals Force Game 5 With Cubs

The National League Division Series is headed back to Washington after the Nationals shut out the Chicago Cubs 5-0 in Game 4.

Much thanks and praise is due to Stephen Strasburg, who threw an absolute gem amidst flu-like symptoms since his start last Friday. Strasburg was nearly untouchable, going for seven innings and sitting down 12 batters.

Nationals’ manager Dusty Baker said despite Strasburg being sick throughout the week, he wasn’t surprised by his performance.

The three pitches Strasburg worked kept the Cubs not only on their toes, but off balance: a 96 mph fastball, controlled curveball placed in and out of the zone and a change-up that embarrassed quite a few batters.

Center fielder Michael Taylor celebrates with teammates after hitting a grand slam against the Chicago Cubs in the 8th inning during game four of the 2017 NLDS playoff baseball series at Wrigley Field. Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Only Ben Zobrist, Willson Contreras and Jason Heyward managed to get a hit off of him.

Strasburg said the antibiotics he switched over to, kicked in. 

The offense hadn’t done much to help Strasburg and had only put up one run off of an error in the third.  That was until Michael A. Taylor opened the game up in the eighth with a grand slam to right field off of reliever Wade Davis.

Cubs’ starter Jake Arrieta shouldered the loss. Arrieta went for four innings with two hits and five walks, plus the run scored in the third inning.

What to Expect for Game 5

Now, the teams will pack up and head to Washington for the final showdown of the series.

Following the win, Nationals’ shortstop Trea Turner hopes to keep the momentum going so Washington can seal the deal.

As for the next pitching match up, Baker said that he’s not sure who will take the mound on Thursday but hopes they’ll have an outing similar to Strasburg, which is no easy feat.

Many predict Gio Gonzalez as Washington’s go-to, with Max Scherzer waiting in the bull pen.

Cubs manager Joe Madden said Kyle Hendricks will get the start with Jose Quintana as the first guy out of the pen. Madden said with the great pitching the series has seen, they’ll have to step up the offense in Game 5.

The match up will start on Thursday at 8:08 ET and televised on TBS.

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