In the spirit of eternal pessimism, here’s what I’ll say this morning: the Nats should play today’s game with some—a lot—of urgency.
Because if they lose, they give the Cardinals a window to get back into this series, before a day game that may get postponed due to rain. For that hypothetical next game, if Aníbal Sánchez has his A stuff again, then it’s perhaps less of a problem — but if the Cardinals figure him out, the Nationals suddenly have to go back to St. Louis and win there, which is never as easy as it looked earlier this week. All of which is to say — today’s game is more dangerous than it looks, and the Nats have Patrick Corbin—who struggled in his first game this year against St. Louis—going for them.
So, with your expectations tempered, here’s the scoop from South Capitol:
Ryan Zimmerman delivering as Nationals’ everyday first baseman (WaPo)
Zimmerman has, oddly, returned to his everyday role at first, slotting in behind Howie Kendrick in the lineup and next to him at first base.
Victor Robles returns to Nationals for NLCS Game 3, immediately reaffirms his value (WaPo)
"The Nationals had more than stopgap in [Michael A.] Taylor, but they have a star in the making, a more dangerous lineup, with Robles."
The Nats, one win from World Series, are providing a doubt-free sense of release (WaPo)
The energy at Nationals Park—home to 43,600+ screaming fans who have been waiting almost a century to see a W**** S***** played in Washington—was something else on Monday night, Thomas Boswell writes. With one more win, who knows what may come next — though this run may well play a part in keeping certain Strasburgs and Rendons in Washington.
With Game 3 rout, party's on at Nationals Park (MASN)
Seven years and three days since the last time the Nats had held a 6-0 lead against the Cardinals in a playoff game at Nationals Park, it happened again. Then, they held on — they more than held on, they expanded their lead — and are now one win away from the pennant.
Stephen Strasburg dominant in NLCS Game 3 win (MLB.com)
Stephen Strasburg, aside from a rocky seventh inning, essentially matched the performances of the other two starters before him, striking out 12 and only allowing one (unearned) run over seven dominant innings.
Strasburg sees improved culture in clubhouse as key to success (MASN)
“I think the biggest thing is that we have really, over the last couple years, tried to address is the culture in the clubhouse,” Strasburg said. “And Davey’s been great. He’s kind of let a lot of the guys that have been there a long time kind of take over the clubhouse. And the additions that we brought in this year has only made it so much better. We have a lot of fun playing together, we have a lot of fun winning together, and we just want to keep that going.”
Nationals score 4 in third vs. Jack Flaherty (MLB.com)
"All told, Flaherty allowed four runs in the inning -- as many as he gave up the entire month of September, and as many as he allowed in his previous two postseason starts combined."
Bob Boone advance scouts Aaron Boone's Yankees (MLB.com)
Bob Boone and Aaron Boone never have too much overlap in their respective jobs scouting for the Nationals and managing the Yankees, but they may be heading on a collision course.
Victor Robles homers in return to lineup as Nats go up 3-0 in NLCS (ESPN)
Robles got back into the lineup for the first time since Game 2 of the NLDS, and he made an immediate impact.
Why there was a stuffed ‘Baby Shark’ hanging from the railing of the Nats dugout (WaPo)
WowWee, which seems to own the licensing rights to Baby Shark, sent Gerardo Parra a box full of baby sharks (and a daddy shark), so this is where we are at this point.
Mystics’ Elena Delle Donne will throw the first pitch before Game 4 of the NLCS (WaPo)
After Parker Staples—a Make-a-Wish kid who threw out the first pitch on May 24th—threw out last night's first pitch, Elena Delle Donne will get her shot at the strike zone along with the WNBA champions. Hopefully some of their swagger can rub off.
Nationals shove Cardinals to the brink of elimination with 8-1 win in Game 3 (St Louis Post-Dispatch)
Mike Shildt is adamant: The Cardinals aren't folding any time soon — they have no "concession speech" written.
With Baby Shark looking on from the dugout, the Washington Nationals are now one win away from the World Series (RMNB)
Gerardo Parra hung a small stuffed baby shark in the dugout, which Victor Robles kissed after hitting a home run.
Nationals demolish Cardinals, 8-1, in NLCS Game 3, move within one win of World Series (WaPo)
First and foremost: Nationals Park hosted an NLCS game. That, in and of itself, sounds like a miracle. Stephen Strasburg toed the mound, and after taking an early lead, the team didn't look back.
With their World Series dreams nearing reality, the Nats are suddenly a machine (WaPo)
The Nats are playing like their best selves right now (knock on all sorts of wood now, please), and they were able to push aside Jack Flaherty, along with Kershaw and Hader. Svrluga is, uh, very confident that the Nats will be able to get this done, which, well, no comment.
On the doorstep of history: Three quick observations from Cardinals-Nationals NLCS Game 3 (The Athletic)
Marcel Ozuna, after dropping a ball and letting some balls get deep to the wall, just about undid his offensive contributions. The Nationals' rotation, yet again, got it done (though they didn't even have to turn the ball over to Sean Doolittle or Daniel Hudson this time).
Nationals’ starting pitching may carry them into World Series (NBC Sports)
The plan at the start of the postseason was for the bullpen to pitch as little as possible. So far, the Nats' rotation has all but ensured that.
Report: Matt Williams takes three-year deal to manage in KBO League (NBC Sports)
The Phillies, oddly enough, weren't interested.
On the brink of elimination, Cardinals vow to ‘bite, scratch, and claw’ back into NLCS (WaPo)
"“It’s not like they’re throwing it right down the middle. They’re making quality pitches,” Goldschmidt said. “They’re throwing strikes and then they’re getting us to chase. They’ve done a good job. We’ve got to do a better job if we’re going to win.”"
Looking ahead (Sweetspot Network — Nationals Baseball)
"I don't know if you've been watching the ALCS but those teams are very good!"
A CAPITAL IDEA: Cardinals need small-ball approach to energize offense (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch interviewed he who shall not be named in an effort to get some ideas as to how the Cardinals can get back into this series.