Nationals hope Stephen Strasburg can break NLDS Game 5 curse

Ruben Hill
October 10, 2019

The other NL Division Series gets settled in Atlanta - not necessarily a good omen for the home team.

Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann said he is retiring following the team's loss to the St Louis Cardinals in the Nationals League Division Series.

"I was just a little kid when that happened", Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson said with a shrug.

"History is history. We're in the moment now".

New York, which completed a three-game sweep of Minnesota on Monday night, will face Houston or Tampa Bay in Game 1 of the ALCS on Saturday.

A pair of winner-take-all Game 5s will decide the two NL Division Series.

Braves' Mike Foltynewicz knocked out by Cardinals in first inning of NLDS Game 5.

"I don't think any of those guys in there think about any of that", manager Brian Snitker said. Multiple streaks where they'd break off, like, seven wins in eight games, so many late comebacks and walkoffs that, no matter how dramatic, nearly seemed inevitable. They were probably in grade school.

The Dodgers are trying to reach the NLCS for the fourth consecutive year, while the Nationals have never won a playoff series since the franchise moved from Montreal to Washington in 2005.

The Cardinals sent 14 batters to the plate against the Atlanta Braves and produced a postseason record-tying 10 runs in the first inning.

Perhaps it was only appropriate that this best-of-five series comes down to a winner-take-all contest. Ozuna appeared to end the inning when he flailed at a ball in the dirt for strike three, but McCann couldn't corral the wild pitch. The margin between the teams has been two runs or fewer in all but three of 37 innings.

Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz, who held the Cardinals scoreless over seven innings in Atlanta's 3-0 Game 2 victory, couldn't recapture the magic of that brilliant outing. The 10 runs were also the most scored in a single inning in a division series game. He was 6-1 with a 2.65 ERA in 10 starts after returning the minors, and he carried that form right into the postseason.

Houston star Gerrit Cole is scheduled to pitch Game 5 for the heavily favored AL West champs, who led the majors with 107 wins this season and have one more chance to close out the wild-card Rays.

The 23-year-old Flaherty had not given up more than three runs in 15 starts after the All-Star break, posting a 0.91 ERA.

"It's going to be fun", Flaherty said Tuesday after the Cardinals arrived in Atlanta. "What's not to be excited about?" Take the Dodgers to get a close win. Clearly bothered by a sore elbow, he is hitting just.125 (2 of 16) in the series, with his lone RBI coming on a homer in Game 1.

"I think all of us are ready to help if called upon", Frazier said. "I've been thinking about a lot of things".

The Cardinals are getting plenty of production from their two big boppers. Two winner-take-all Game 5's will take place today with the victors moving on to the NLCS and the losers going home.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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