Washington Nationals: Clutch home runs keep NLDS hopes alive

rickinator555
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 07: Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals celebrates with Daniel Murphy #20 of the Washington Nationals after hitting a three run home run against the Chicago Cubs in the eighth inning during game two of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 7, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 07: Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals celebrates with Daniel Murphy #20 of the Washington Nationals after hitting a three run home run against the Chicago Cubs in the eighth inning during game two of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 7, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
1 of 6
Next
Washington Nationals
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The Washington Nationals offense exploded for five runs in the bottom of the eighth to keep their NLDS hopes alive and tie the series at one

For seven innings last night, the Washington Nationals were still looking for answers on offense. They had only scored three runs in the first 16 innings and were staring an 0-2 deficit heading to Wrigley Field straight in the face. Then, the fun happened.

In the bottom off the eighth, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman came up with clutch home runs. Harper tied the game with a two-run moon shot against Carl Edwards Jr. Three batters later, it was Zimmerman’s turn to play hero against Mike Montgomery with a three-run shot to left that put the team ahead for good.

We will get to the home runs more in-depth later, but the unsung hero of the night might have been Adam Lind. Lind’s pinch-hit single started the rally and as Ron Darling pointed out on TBS, it was the team’s first hit with two strikes in the entire postseason.

Also, it shouldn’t be overlooked how good the bullpen has been in this series. Last night, the combination of Matt Albers, Sammy Solis, Ryan Madson, Oliver Perez, and Sean Doolittle didn’t give up a run over the final four innings. Right now, they have proven to be the better setup options (sans Doolittle) than the Cubs.

Now, the series shifts to Wrigley Field Monday afternoon for Game 3 as Max Scherzer makes his return to the rotation against Jose Quintana, who makes his postseason debut. Going on the road might be the best thing to happen to the Nats because they have been arguably the best road team in the National League.

So, before we look ahead to Game 3, here are my takeaways from last night’s dramatic 6-3 win, starting with the Nats starter who did everything he could to keep the team in the game.

facebooktwitterreddit