Cardinals vs Nationals: There’s something magical about Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer starting back-to-back postseason games.
In 2013, the then-Detroit Tigers began the ALCS with consecutive no-hit bids of at least five innings, and then this weekend, matched the feat again for the Washington Nationals. Friday night, Sanchez threw seven and two-thirds innings worth of no-hit baseball, and Scherzer held the St. Louis Cardinals hitless through six on Saturday. These two brilliant outings assured Washington’s hitters that they only needed to do just enough, and so they did, beating St. Louis 2-0 and then 3-1.
And yet, Game 3 might be the best-pitched game of the series so far.
NLCS Game 1 Information
Date: Monday, October 14
Time: 7:38 p.m. ET
Ticket Info: Available tickets can be found on StubHub.
Odds (via Caesars): St. Louis (+115; bet $100 to win $115); Washington (-125; bet $125 to win $100)
Tonight, the Cardinals will start Jack Flaherty against Washington’s Stephen Strasburg. These are arguably the two best pitchers in the National League over the last several months.
Flaherty has been particularly locked in since July, going 7-3 with a staggering 1.22 ERA in that time, while Strasburg finally became the ace that was promised this season to the tune of an 18-6 record, a 3.32 ERA, and 251 strikeouts.
Each has continued their strong regular seasons into October as well, with Strasburg pitching two strong starts against the Dodgers, including the decisive Game 5 victory, and Flaherty allowing just four earned runs over 13 innings in his two NLDS outings.
This series was never going to be a hitting-friendly one, but both teams are particularly struggling at the dish this fall.
Washington is hitting just .226 through eight games, while St. Louis is even worse with a .207 team batting average through seven games. Both teams’ usual suspects are playing well- Anthony Rendon is 9-for-26 and Trea Turner is 10-for-34 for Washington, while Paul Goldschmidt and Marcell Ozuna are both hitting over .300 for St. Louis this postseason- it’s each team’s complementary hitters that need to step up.
With the two starters likely dueling to a stalemate, it won’t take much offensive firepower to claim victory, and with St. Louis excelling at home all season and boasting an outstanding young ace on the hill, the Cardinals could slow Washington’s march to the World Series Monday night.