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Wire Taps: Nationals finally make it to NLCS; Nats and Cardinals ready to renew rivalry + more...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before the start of the NLCS with the Cardinals...

Washington Nationals v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

So, we’ve been lying to you. The baseball season wasn’t really decided in the NLDS every year that the Nationals lost the Division Series. See, the other team actually moved on to play in the NLCS or National League Championship Series. We’re sorry we lied, but we all thought it was best to keep up the illusion so those NLDS losses didn’t hurt you so much. Sorry? Go read you links...

NATS BEAT:

NLCS Previews:

How Nationals, Cardinals match up in NLCS - (WaPost)
"When the delirium dies down, when this historic victory sinks in, the Washington Nationals will remember the stakes of a season living on."

Nationals' bullpen among keys to winning NLCS - (MLB.com)
"There will be no rest for the Nats, who celebrated into the wee hours on Thursday, caught a flight to St. Louis in the afternoon and are set to open a best-of-seven National League Championship Series against the Cardinals on Friday."

The 2012 NLDS between the Cardinals and Nationals had everything - (WaPost)
"It’s been seven years since Teddy won his first Presidents Race and the Nationals won an NL-best 98 games, giving the District its first taste of playoff baseball since 1933."

Other Nationals stories:

Nats' ability to not panic early pays dividends later - (MASN)
"The display of off-then-on offense by the Nats has become a familiar sight in their run to the National League Championship Series."

NLDS demons behind them, Nats now have eyes on bigger prize - (MASN)
"Yes, Wednesday night’s victory was cause for celebration. But as soon as they were done with that, the Nationals insisted they were moving onto their next challenge."

Nationals’ Game 5 win had eerie echoes of Washington’s baseball past - (WaPost)
"A mere 95 years later, the Nationals appear to be channeling the 1924 Senators, and it's getting spooky."

Nationals' gritty resurgence has D.C. fans in a frenzy - (Washington Times)
"Thanks to the surprising Washington Nationals, baseball fans in the nation’s capital are finding out what fans in other cities have known for years: The game is a heck of a lot more fun when your team is winning in October."

Martinez guiding light in Nats' journey to NLCS - (MLB.com)
"This was the job description and expectations that Dave Martinez were handed from day one in D.C."

Sánchez to start NLCS Game 1 for Nats - (MLB.com)
"Sánchez is not only the most well-rested option for Washington, but he also pitched well in his lone appearance in the NLDS, a start in Game 3."

Martinez gives positive updates on Suzuki and Robles - (MASN)
"The pitch hit Suzuki’s wrist and then ricocheted up to hit him on his face, and he went down for several seconds."

D.C. athletes react to Nationals advancing to NLCS - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Right winger T. J. Oshie has been enthusiastically tweeting about the Nationals postseason run since October began."

Washington is a better place when the Nationals are winning - (Washington Examiner)
"For the past few weeks, I’ve been down on the Washington Nationals. (Please understand that I’m from Wisconsin, and the Nats crushed my Miller Park playoff dreams.) But the Nats deserve some serious credit."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

MLB Playoffs Daily -- What do Nationals, Cardinals have left in the tank? - (ESPN)
"The Cardinals and Nationals barely had a chance to catch their collective breath, but both teams are in the same boat. Neither side has its preferred pitching choice on the mound..."

Nationals-Cardinals NLCS preview: schedule, keys, pitchers - (Yahoo!Sports)
"The Cardinals and the Nats, two postseason underdogs, are now battling for a chance to play in the World Series."

Nationals' Sterling Sharp Looking To Add To Power Sink - (Baseball America)
"Call it turbo sink, power sink or just a heavy ball. Whatever it is, Sterling Sharp has it in spades. Though he’s always had excellent groundout-to-flyout ratios, this year was exceptional."

Howie Kendrick Finally Has A Legacy - (Deadspin)
"You’d be forgiven, Nats fans, if you wanted Howie Kendrick out of the game long before his instantly legendary grand slam in the top of the 10th that won the Nationals their first-ever playoff series."

Nationals finally win a playoff series, so what's next? - (Sports Illustrated)
"The Nationals’ drought has ended. They have—at last, after a collection of tortured and accursed tries—won a postseason series."

TBS Baseball Analyst Ron Darling Talks Dodgers’ Exit, National League Championship Series - (Forbes)
"Here’s a guy, Howie Kendrick, having a tough series, and the Nationals’ manager Dave Martinez trusts him and lets him stay in the game and he ends up hitting a grand slam home run."- Ron Darling