Enhanced Box Score: Nationals 7, Cubs 5 – August 25, 2019
The bad kind of sweep. At home. With the Cardinals on fire elsewhere. No sugar available for coating. This is all quite bad.
It’s overly simple, but also feels like it hits it on the nose for the entire series: the Nationals put the ball in play when they need to, the Cubs cannot.
Write the story of this latest, sweep-yielding loss and that’s about the size of it. Sure, you also have to mention the Cubs’ multiple come backs, including hitting two homers late to send the game to extra innings. But for the most part, it feels like today matched the rest of the series: the Nationals were absolutely relentless in putting the ball in play, which worked out quite well for them, and the Cubs were not.
I’d love to say it’s just about giving Stephen Strasburg credit, but let’s be clear, it has looked like this all weekend for the Cubs (longer, really). Certain guys get up in big spots, and their perception of the strike zone grows by 50%. This is not a new revelation, nor was it addressed last offseason.
So, then, the Nationals kept putting the ball in play in the big spots, and that often yields runs. Once again, it was enough runs to win, despite it mostly involving singles and sacrifices. And wild pitches. Must be nice.