|4:38 PM PT5:38 PM MT6:38 PM CT7:38 PM ET19:38 ET23:38 GMT7:38 4:38 PM MST6:38 PM EST7:08 PM VEN3:38 UAE (+1)6:38 PM CT, October 14, 2019
Nationals Park, Washington, District of Columbia Attendance: 43,675
Cardinals face another ace in Nationals' Strasburg
St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals
- Teams are 0-20 in League Championship Series all-time when losing the first two games at home. The 1996 Yankees are the last team to win a seven-game series after losing the first two at home. After falling down 0-2 in the Bronx to the Braves in the World Series they rallied to win the series 4-2.
- Washington's pitching staff has held St. Louis to four hits through two games, the fewest through two games in a postseason series all-time. Its starters have thrown 18.2 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to Game 5 of the NLDS, the longest streak in postseason play since the 2013 Detroit Tigers threw 20.0 straight scoreless frames. Of those 20.0 innings by the Tigers, 11.0 were thrown by Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer, who have accounted for the last 14.2 scoreless by Nats starters.
- Washington's bullpen has allowed one run in 9.1 innings (0.96 ERA) over its last four games after allowing 14 in 13 IP (9.69 ERA) in its first four games this postseason. The Nationals finished the regular season with a 5.66 bullpen ERA, highest in MLB -- the 1918 Red Sox are the only team to make the World Series after having the highest bullpen ERA during the regular season (won World Series).
- St. Louis' starters have a 2.06 ERA this postseason, but have picked up just one win (Jack Flaherty in 13-1 win over Atl in NLDS Game 5). All 13 runs in that Game 5 win were in support of Flaherty -- in the other six games this postseason, St. Louis' offense has provided its starters just five total runs of support.
- Jose Martinez has gone 2-for-2 as a pinch-hitter in this series, picking up an RBI double in Game 2. All of St. Louis' other hitters have combined to go 2-for-55 (.036 AVG), drawing only three walks while striking out 18 times.
- Washington's eight-hole hitters (Y. Gomes in Game 1, M. Taylor in Game 2) are 4-for-7 with a double and a home run in the NLCS, knocking in two of the Nationals' five runs. Gomes posted an .800 OPS batting eighth during the regular season and was one of 11 players with at least 200 PA in that lineup spot.
- Stephen Strasburg has made five starts in his postseason career (six overall appearances) -- his ERA as a starter is 1.45. He has struck out 41 batters across these five starts -- the only other pitcher with an ERA of 1.50 or lower and 40+ strikeouts through five career postseason starts is Sandy Koufax (1.13 ERA, 48 K from 10/6/1959-10/11/1965).
- Jack Flaherty has posted a 1.13 ERA over his last 18 starts (since July 7). Opponents own a slash line of .151/.212/.237 against him in this span with just eight home runs in 119.1 innings, but two have come in the postseason. He has struck out 16 batters and walked just two in the playoffs.
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After some dominating pitching to open the National League Championship Series, the Washington Nationals not only return home for Game 3 on Monday, they do so with another force on the mound.
Trailing 2-0 in the series, the St. Louis Cardinals will have to get their offense on track against Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg, who has appeared motivated for October success.
The Nationals have won all three games when Strasburg has appeared in these playoffs, including a start in the deciding Game 5 of the NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. And while he did give up two home runs early in that one, he settled down to give his team a chance to rally late.
Aside from personal momentum heading into Monday's outing, Strasburg has been able to watch fellow pitchers Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer reveal an ideal blueprint for handling the Cardinals.
St. Louis has just four hits and one run in the first two games. The Cardinals were held without a hit into the eighth inning of Game 1 and into the seventh inning of Game 2.
"Well, I think they controlled the tempo of the game very well," Strasburg said of Sanchez and Scherzer. "They had a lot of poise out there. Just seems like they were just playing catch out there. It's easier said than done, but they had everything working and they made it look really easy."
In two starts against the Cardinals in the 2019 regular season, Strasburg was 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA. Over eight career starts against the Cardinals, he is 3-2 with a 2.50 ERA. Cardinals outfielder Marcell Ozuna is 0-for-8 in the NLCS, but he is batting .318 (14-for-44) against Strasburg lifetime with three home runs.
During the regular season, the Cardinals were the lowest scoring of the five NL playoff teams. But they entered the NLCS off a 13-run outburst in Game 5 of the NLDS that included a 10-run first inning.
They are nowhere close to being that productive now, and the Nationals have Strasburg and Patrick Corbin lined up for the next two games.
"As far as adjustments go, you have guys that have been getting pretty good some pitches to hit, (just) not a lot of them," Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. "(We) feel like the competition's there. The approach is there. ... I don't want to minimize that we're not competing or we're not focusing, but we got to figure out a way to be that much better, and that's a challenge right now for us."
The Nationals' success on the mound has taken the attention away from some solid Cardinals pitching. St. Louis' Game 1 starter Miles Mikolas gave up one run over six innings, while Game 2 starter Adam Wainwright pitched into the eighth inning, only to give up a late two-run double by Adam Eaton.
Right-hander Jack Flaherty will get the ball in Game 3 after going 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA in 13 innings of the NLDS. He was the benefactor of all that offense in Game 5 of the previous series.
Flaherty, who turns 24 on Tuesday, has faced the Nationals just once in his brief career. In a 2018 start, he gave up five walks in five innings, but allowed just three hits and one run in a no-decision.
--Field Level Media
Updated October 13, 2019