Lackey Stifles Nats Once Again
As we talked about in the preview of this series, it was going to be tough for the Nats offense to have success against John Lackey. The Cubs right-hander went six innings, gave up two runs on four hits, struck out seven, and walked two on 98 pitches (64 strikes).
One of the things Lackey did well in this game was that he threw a first pitch strike early and often. Out of the 26 batters he faced, 19 of them saw a first pitch strike. Right out of the gate, Lackey had only 54 pitches after four innings.
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The Washington Nationals offense did give him trouble in the fifth and made Lackey throw 24 pitches, It was an inning that featured the Nats winning their second challenge of the night when Gonzalez successfully beat out a throw to first on a double play attempt. However, Lackey worked his way out of the jam when Harper grounded out to first base with runners on first and second.
When people talk about the Cubs rotation, the first two names that come to mind are usually Jake Arrieta or Jon Lester. However, Lackey has quietly pot together nine consecutive quality starts, has a WHIP of 0.93, and has only given up two home runs in his last six games.
Plus, if these two teams were to meet again in October, the Nats will have to figure out someway to beat Lackey, who has dominated them in his career. He is 2-0 in six starts against the Nats and has only given up ten runs in his last four outings, dating back to last season.