While the Washington Nationals, as a franchise, have failed to advance past the NLDS in any of their previous three Postseason appearances, they don’t all carry that history as their own as much as fans of the franchise might.
Neither Trea Turner or Michael A. Taylor seemed too concerned with previous division winners from Washington when they spoke to reporters about going into Game 5 vs the Chicago Cubs.
Turner, who was hitless in the series before last night (0 for 12), went 1 for 3 with two walks and a run scored in the win, and Taylor hit the big eighth-inning grand slam that blew things open.
What happened in 2012, 2014, or 2016, they said last night, didn’t matter too much right now.
“I've kind of said this all year: I don't believe in that because it's a different team every year,” Turner told reporters.
“You play different teams, different players, trades, free agents, whatever it may be. We didn't play the Cubs last year.
“So who knows what would have happened if we did or didn't. Doesn't really matter. For me, I don't believe in it. Whoever plays better, whoever executes more, you're going to move on.”
“I agree with Trea,” Taylor said.
“Once you get out there, that stuff doesn't really matter, what we did last year; doesn't help or hurt us once we're in between the lines.
“We'll just go out there and play our game.”
Taylor went 1 for 3 on the night in the Nationals’ 5-0 win, leaving him 3 for 11 thus far in the NLDS.
Both players said they were confident heading into Game 5.
“As a team, we feel good. We talked a little before the game about taking it one game at a time, and obviously today was a necessary step to take it back to D.C.,” Taylor said.
“I felt like this game gave us a little energy. So going back, we'd just like to have another quality game.”
“For me, I think the momentum's huge,” Turner added.
“I think last year, the Dodgers kind of did it to us, and hoping that kind of feels the same way this year as we have got the momentum going back home and kind of keep it rolling.
“I think from a standpoint of individuals, we've got a lot of experience and a lot of talent and I think that helps take some pressure off. You know, hopefully, we can go out there tomorrow and kind of play the same way we did today.”
Cubs’ skipper Joe Maddon was asked what his message for his team was, and what the mindset is for the defending World Series Champions heading into Game 5.
“Honestly, I don't say a whole lot,” Maddon said. “I actually don't say anything. I just want them to go and prepare like we normally do. Like I said, we just have to be offensively a little bit better tomorrow. They have been really good.
“We have been really good. Listen, they got a Grand Slam. Otherwise, it's kind of like the same game both sides.
“We walked a couple guys which really hurt to set the whole thing up, but neither side killed the ball tonight. They punctured the wind, we didn't, and they got the win. But that's been pretty much the entire series. Both pitching staffs have done a great job.”
The Nationals, whose offensive struggles in the series have been well-documented, finished Game 4 16 for 23 for a combined .130/.241/.252 line thus far in the Division Series.
Cubs’ hitters haven’t fared much better thus far, going 18 for 113, for a .159/.258/.257 line through four games.
“We have to be better in the zone,” Maddon said. “We have to force their pitchers in the zone more consistently and not miss your pitch when you see it. It really comes down to that.”
It all comes down to one game for both teams. One of them is moving on to play the Dodgers. One is going home after tonight...