Washington Nationals: 3 keys to winning Game 5

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One more win sends the Washington Nationals to the National League Championship Series. Here are the keys to a trip to Hollywood.

The ultimate day of angst has arrived as the Washington Nationals host the Chicago Cubs in Game 5 of their National League Divisional Series.

Although we have no idea who faces Kyle Hendricks as the starting pitcher for the Nats, this is guaranteed to be a bullpen game with more twists and turns than a foggy mountain road at night.

Yet, after some uninspiring baseball, Washington behind Stephen Strasburg and Michael Taylor have pushed the Nats to a chance for the franchise’s first NL Championship Series since 1981. Who did those Montreal Expos face? The Los Angeles Dodgers. You might remember their left fielder, a Dusty Baker?

Winning Game 4 the way Washington did will give an advantage heading into Thursday’s winner-take-all Game 5.

Both wins came after implosions by the Cubs bullpen. Taylor’s grand slam off Wade Davis was the first the pitcher allowed since 2013. Lyle Overbay thanks you all for remembering him.

Before getting into specific keys for the game, it is important to remember the reason Washington hosts this one comes from their deep regular season. The Nats came into the playoffs as a tight team that can score at will and played loose. Although it is impossible to relax with everything on the line, they earned the right to host. Something, if they move on, will not happen against the Dodgers.

Take a deep breath, stock up on your favorite cold beverage and relax. To paraphrase Bill Parcells, “This is why you ran those damn wind sprints.” Here are the three keys to Game 5.