Both Starting Pitchers Dominate
In the rubber mach of a series between two great teams you could not have asked for much better of a pitching matchup then we had on Wednesday afternoon. Stephen Strasburg and Jason Hammel have both had great success this season, and that dominance continued on Wednesday. Both pitchers got off to rough starts — Strasburg giving up a leadoff homer, and Hammel letting a run score in the first on a wild pitch — but they both settled into the game in a big way.
Hammel at one point in the game retired 13 Nationals batters in a row, and the Nats struggled to even make solid contact off of him all day long. Strasburg did not have his best fastball command, but as he has done all year, the right-hander battled and finished with a great outing.
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Although it was not the dominant, double-digit strikeout Strasburg we have become accustomed to seeing, he once again showed how he can be a great pitcher in many ways. Stras worked his way out of a big jam right from the get go in the first inning, striking out the Cubs’ two big sluggers Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. Again the Nationals big right-hander ran into trouble in the third, but got Jayson Heyward to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Strasburg’s final inning may have been his most impressive of the year. With a runner on second with two outs, he emptied the tank with everything he had, striking out Addison Russell on a 97mph fastball on his 105th pitch of the day.
It may get lost in this wild back and forth 12-inning game, but both starting pitchers had outstanding days, as was a common theme in this series. If these two teams meet in the playoffs, the pitching matchups may be some of the best we have seen in years.
Next: Nationals Show Resilience Against Cubs 'Pen