OK, #THIS was the biggest win of the season!

Matt Wieters Wrigley Field Grand Slam —- Photo by Michael Daalder for TalkNats.com

The Washington Nationals just came back from 3-runs from behind in this game to win this season finale game and take the season series against a healthy Cubs team. The Nationals were led by 5 RBIs from Matt Wieters who was the hero of this game. The Nationals were behind by a score of 4-1 going into the 7th inning.

The Las Vegas odds-makers gave the Washington Nationals almost no chance in this game that had a healthy 1st place Chicago Cubs with their best pitcher Jon Lester going up against Erick Fedde who was pitching in his second career start and had a 15.75 ERA entering this game. There is a reason they play the games. Lester gave up 3-runs in this game and Fedde gave up 4-runs. But the real difference could be found in the bullpens as the Nationals relievers gave up zero runs, and the Cubs bullpen gave up 6-runs.

The story of the game is certainly the Nationals who couldn’t beat-up on John Lackey yesterday or Jon Lester today went on a quick-strike offense on the Cubs bullpen today. The 8th inning began with a strikeout then a Bryce Harper swinging bunt that dribbled past the pitcher  for a single. Then Ryan Zimmerman doubled moving Harper to 3rd base, and with 1st base open, Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon walked Daniel Murphy to load the bases and allow his reliever to go righty/righty on Anthony Rendon.

The Nationals were looking at bases loaded and one-out which they had seen before. The game at this point was still in the favor of the Cubs with a 4-3 score and Cubs’ reliever Carl Edwards Jr. was seeking a doubleplay ball. On the first pitch to Rendon, Edwards threw an 81.5 mph curveball up and in and Rendon was hit with a glancing blow on the left shoulder for a Hit-by-Pitch bases loaded RBI. That faux pas by Edwards tied the score and became a blown save, and that brought the struggling Matt Wieters (2-for-his-last-17) into the batter’s box. Wieters already was robbed of an extra base hit in his previous at-bat which resulted in a long sacrifice fly. This time Wieters could not be robbed as this flyball went into the centerfield shrubbery for a grand slam home run to put the Nationals up 8-4, and Brian Goodwin would add a solo home run to complete the scoring for a final score of 9-4.

The Cubs “L” for loss flag is hoisted —- Photo by Michael Daalder for TalkNats

With this win, the Nationals improve to 65-44 and go back to 21 games above .500, and
they maintain their 13.0 game lead in the NL East.  While this game in the standing might not mean a lot, this win today over the Cubs could be decisive in determining home field advantage for the post-season if the Nationals and Cubs finish the season with the same won/loss record.

The Nationals took 2-out-3 games in Chicago against the Cubs who pitched their #1 pitcher today in Jon Lester and with their starting line-up that most likely featured their line-up they would put out there against a right-handed starting pitcher in a post-season game while the Nationals would have been starting a few players that are missing today like Trea Turner, Jayson Werth and Michael Taylor plus the Nationals did not pitch Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg or Gio Gonzalez.

Photo by Michael Daalder for TalkNats

“I just wanted something to get up [in the air], and I read the curveball out of his hand early,” Matt Wieters said about his grand slam. “I knew that was a pitch that I could’ve elevated and hit in the air. I just happened to hit it well enough to get it out [for a home run].”

Photo by Michael Daalder for TalkNats

“That’s why you like Rendon hitting behind Murphy,” Dusty Baker said as it worked when Murphy was intentionally walked. “Because most of the times he’s not going to hit into a doubleplay — hit the ball the other way. He’ll get get 2-out RBI’s. Then you got Wieters, switch-hitter hitting behind him that you know he can hit him on that side. That was big. Difo had a big game. Zim came through when we needed him in the clutch. It was all started by Harp’s infield hit…A big game to win for us. To win the series. To win the yearly series. Who knows, that could come up big.”

Photo by Michael Daalder for TalkNats



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