Washington’s offense failed to produce much at all through 16 innings of their NLDS matchup with Chicago’s Cubs, then the Nationals came up with a big five-run eighth inning in Game 2.
Bryce Harper, with a game-tying two-run shot to right field, and Nats’ first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, with a go-ahead, three-run home run to left field, lifted the home team to a 6-3 win as they evened up the best-of-five series.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time in Postseason history that a team won in its last time up on separate game-tying and game-winning home runs.
In spite of their struggles throughout most of the first two games, however, and with little history against today’s starter, Cubs’ lefty Jose Quintana, Dusty Baker resisted any urge to mix it up for Game 3.
Feeling right at home. #OnePursuit pic.twitter.com/ZaVj8Q6CsM— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) October 9, 2017
“You know, you just can't change your whole lineup,” he told reporters this afternoon.
“We've got scouting reports, there's nothing like the naked eye seeing a guy. I think the advantage most of the time goes to the pitcher if you haven't seen him. So we're relying on some of the guys who might have played with him and some of the guys who played against him.”
Asked if Quintana’s former teammate with the White Sox, Adam Eaton, had anything to offer his teammates with the Nationals, Baker said that was a good question.
“I'm sure [Hitting Coach Rick] Shu has spoken to him, and since you haven't made that point to him, I'm going to make sure he does speak to him,” Baker said, drawing laughs from the press pool.
“Quintana, I was told a long time ago -- I was told by Ned Yost about how difficult he can be to hit sometimes. I haven't seen him in other, other than on video or TV. This will be our first look at him, a bunch of players.”
Quintana, between the White Sox and Cubs, held righties to a .242/.318/.415 line and left-handed hitters to a .222/.258/.327 line on the season, with 22 of the 23 home runs he allowed this year hit by right-handed batters.
Baker said he wasn’t concerned about his left-handed hitters staying in there today.
“I'm not going to take [Daniel] Murphy and [Bryce] Harper out, you know, because they are left-handed,” he explained.
“Sometimes you have to go with what you -- you've got to go with your best, right or left. But we've got other right-handers in the lineup. I mean, I realize that he's been tough on left-handed hitters, but our left-handed hitters, they also fair pretty good [against] left-handed pitchers.
“It remains to be seen. You know, the way that ball was flying out yesterday during batting practice -- I don't know what the weather is like -- well, I know what the weather is like, but I don't know what the conditions are like on the field today. You know, if you hit it good, right or left, it has a chance to go.”
The ball is absolutely flying to left field today.— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) October 9, 2017
There was talk pregame about how the ball might be jumping today. If BP is any indication, it’s doing just that — same as yesterday.— Todd Dybas (@Todd_Dybas) October 9, 2017