Washington Nationals force Game 5 with statement victory

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 11: Stephen Strasburg
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 11: Stephen Strasburg /
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The Washington Nationals beat the Chicago Cubs 5-0 in a must-win Game 4; here are five takeaways from the statement victory.

The Washington Nationals fell behind the Chicago Cubs 2-1, making Game 4 a must-win. The game was scheduled to be played on Tuesday with Illinois-native Tanner Roark on the mound; however, a rain-out allowed Stephen Strasburg to get the start.

Strasburg got the nod despite battling flu-like symptoms, but he was far from the only ill player on the field. Several members of the Nats were a bit under the weather due to mold in the team hotel.

Continuing the theme of players at less than full strength, Cubs starter Jake Arrieta was pitching through a hamstring issue that he battled for most of the second half. This did not appear to hinder him much, as he pitched four innings, allowing two hits and no earned runs.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, their errors finally caught up to them. Addison Russell booted a Ryan Zimmerman ground ball in the top of the third, allowing the go-ahead run to score. Now pitching with a lead, Strasburg never looked back, dominating over seven innings.

The score was 1-0 for what seemed to be an eternity, before Michael Taylor broke it open with a grand slam off of Wade Davis in the eighth inning. With the score now 5-0, it became apparent that this great series would be pushed to a decisive Game 5 in DC.

Now, the series will conclude tonight, with the winner advancing to play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. Although the series looked like a disaster for the Nats at one point, it now appears that it may be in their favor. They have all the momentum from Game 4, and they are coming back to Nationals Park for Game 5.

Before looking ahead to the decisive Game 5, here are five takeaways from the Nats’ statement victory in Game 4.