A pitching duel to the end with a combined 16 strikeouts between the two starters.

The National League Division Series started off for the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals last night and the reigning World Series champions took Game 1. Both pitchers, Kyle Hendricks (Cubs) and Stephen Strasburg (Nationals) performed exceptionally well. Both went 7.0 innings, gave up a combined 5 hits and 16 strikeouts. Strasburg had 10 strikeouts and one walk. Hendricks had six strikeouts and three walks.

Unfortunately, a couple of unearned runs given up by the Nationals made Strasburg’s dominant performance worthless. Ryan Madson came in next and gave up one run while striking out two. The Cubs bullpen gave up no runs, allowing the Cubs to win 3-0. This really is a great start for both teams on the mound and in the pen.

The offense for each team struggled throughout the game combing for seven total hits in the game. Chicago had five hits, and Washington had two. Both teams definitely had a rough time at the plate. It was a pitcher’s duel through almost the entire game. It also looks like another one may come in Game 2.

Game two matches up Jon Lester versus Gio Gonzalez. Lester has a career 9-7 record in the postseason over 133 2/3 innings pitched. Over that time, he’s also put up a 2.63 ERA. In two starts against the Nats this year, Lester had a pair of no-decisions with a 2.84 ERA.

Gio Gonzalez has four career post season starts with a 3.93 ERA. With less experience than Lester, it will be a challenge going up against him and the 2016 World Series winners. Gonzalez faced off against the Cubs once this year throwing for six innings taking a loss. The Cubs look to make it 2-0 reaching for a repeat title while the Nats look to come back and show why they were the first postseason clincher in the MLB.

Lester
Image Source: nbcsports.com

My Prediction is that Jon Lester throws six shutout innings before giving up a home run to the big man Bryce Harper. Gonzalez goes 5 1/3 with three earned runs before the Nats go to the bullpen. The Cubs win with the final run off the game coming in the eighth for the Cubs off of a Ben Zobrist RBI. Cubs go up 2-0 heading into Wrigley Field.

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