When the last base hit of the night comes in the second inning, you know there is trouble. The Nats mustered six base runners in Game 1 and left them all on base.
It never fails in a short series. The team who cannot score with runners in scoring position will lose. On Friday, Washington went 0-for-2 while Chicago was 3-for-9. In a rare playoff game this year dominated by pitching where no ball left the yard, the Nats strung nothing along.
Stymied by a combination of soft contact by Hendricks and laying off good pitches in the strike zone, the Nats failed to pressure the Cubs. For a team accustomed to working opposing pitchers hard and grinding out plate appearances, Chicago faced 32 hitters on 128 pitches.
Stephen Strasburg and company threw 121 against 35. Yet, it was Chicago with the timely hitting moving the game along.
Although the heart of the order drew two walks, Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy went a combined 0-for-10 with three strikeouts. Table-setter Trea Turner fanned twice. Bryce Harper and Michael Taylor were the only Nats with base hits.
If Jon Lester continues this for the Cubs, the series is over.