October 11 vs. Chicago Cubs
The Nats seemingly have a knack for drama, and game four of the NLDS was no different. Roark was scheduled to get the start, but a rainout postponed the game a day. With the postponement, Strasburg was in line to start game four on normal rest.
The Nats trailed 2-1 in the series, so everyone assumed Strasburg would get the nod in the must-win game. However, the Nats announced that Roark would still get the start because Strasburg was dealing with an illness.
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Chaos immediately ensued, with Strasburg being vilified. Strasburg declining the ball in a must-win game seemed unimaginable, and former Cubs catcher David Ross even went as far as to say that he would not be able to look Strasburg in the eye if he were his teammate.
After being chewed up and spit back out by the media, the Nats announced that Strasburg’s condition had improved and he would start game four. Strasburg did, in fact, seem healthy, as he struck out twelve in seven dominant shutout innings.
Everything was looking pretty good for the Nats as they entered the eighth inning with a one-run lead. The law firm was ready to come in and get the last six outs to bring the series back to DC, but some insurance runs couldn’t hurt.
After Harper struck out and Zimmerman was picked off of first, the Nats had two outs and nobody on base. However, Murphy singled to extend the inning, which led to Joe Maddon bringing in Carl Edwards to relieve Lester.
With the wind viciously blowing in, fly balls had been dying all game. However, Taylor crushed one that managed to break through the Chicago gusts, carrying all the way into the basket over the right field fence.
Taylor’s grand slam gave the Nats a secure 5-0 lead, which meant the series would be going back to DC for the decisive game five. Although the Nats eventually lost the series, Taylor’s grand slam will go down as one of the biggest hits in team history.
Since the Nats failed to advance past the NLDS once again, many people view 2017 as a failure. However, it was a success and it was filled with 99 fantastic wins. These are our top five games of the season; what are yours?