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The Washington Nationals will try to even their National League Division Series against the Chicago Cubs in Game 2 on Saturday evening at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. (5:30 p.m. ET, TBS).
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Through four days of the 2017 MLB playoffs so far, the Nationals are the only home team to lose a game. Washington is 2-7 at Nationals Park in the postseason dating back to 2012, with the team trying to avoid its fourth first-round exit in its last four postseason trips.
The Cubs took the opener 3-0 on Friday, with Kyle Hendricks pitching seven scoreless innings to out-duel Stephen Strasburg.
Gio Gonzalez gets the call for Washington in Game 2, with Max Scherzer pushed back to Game 3 with his lingering hamstring tightness. Gonzalez had a 2.76 ERA in 15 home starts in 2017, with 89 strikeouts in 91⅓ innings for the left-hander.
Jon Lester starts for the Cubs, making his 20th career postseason start. In Division Series play in his career, the left-hander is 3-2 with a 1.67 ERA in six starts, with 37 strikeouts and 11 walks in 43 innings.NLDS Game 2 time, TV and streaming infoTeams: Cubs (92-70) at Nationals (97-65)Series: Chicago leads, 1-0Time: 5:30 p.m. ETFirst pitch: 5:38 p.m.Location: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.TV: TBSAnnouncers: Ernie Johnson, Ron Darling, Sam Ryan Nationals vs. Cubs news & notes
Walks will be a key issue for the Chicago bullpen, writes Sara Sanchez at Bleed Cubbie Blue:
When they are good, they are very, very good... and when they are bad...
This Cubs bullpen has had moments of brilliance and moments of frustration. The first thing that jumps out in the numbers is that Davis, Edwards and Wilson all sport astronomically high K/9 rates, averaging over 12 strikeouts per nine innings. The second thing that stands out is that almost ever member of the Cubs bullpen walks more runners than their Nationals counterpart.
I have to believe that one of the keys to the Cubs winning this series is to control the walks.
Washington manager Dusty Baker talked about the Nationals offense, which was shut out in Game 1. Patrick Reddington of Federal Baseball has more:
“I mean, it"s kind of a moot point when you don"t score,” he said.
See more: The ____ Shows The Name And Location Of The Item You Have Open.
Washington’s hitters managed just two hits total, both off Kyle Hendricks, and came up empty against Chicago’s bullpen.
What was Hendricks doing that made him so effective? Or were the Nats’ hitters to blame?
“Well it was a combination of both but you can"t take anything away from him because he threw the ball well,” Baker explained.