As much as the Cubs could feel the surprising turn of events, the memories of winning the World Series previous year crept in not long after. The Nationals weren't done there, with Ryan Zimmerman clubbing a wall-scratching 3-run home run just beyond the reach of Ben Zobrist in left field, giving them the 6-3 lead they would never vanquish.
Game 1 of the National League Championship Series showed a ideal example of this change of fortune.
Martinez, who came up with the Cubs in 1986 and played 16 years as a big-league outfielder, said he thinks the Cubs' run of playoff appearances should help his chances this time around.
But then came a break.
Next, after a walk to Anthony Rendon, who had homered in the first inning, and a single by Daniel Murphy, who just might have been praying in the on-deck circle when Harper was at bat, the stage was set for a moment that proved that Baseball Feel Good in Washington could be raised to a previously unknown power. "For me a ideal situation to try to get the ball on the ground (for a Zimmerman double play.) Didn't happen".
Over nine innings, Nationals hitters connected on just two hits - and nothing after Michael Taylor's second inning single to right.More news: Packers-Cowboys at a glance
Their best player, Kris Bryant, is 25 years old, makes $1.05 million a year (peanuts in MLB) and won't be a free agent until 2022. Entering play Saturday, the Nats were 5-10 in their NLDS history, with nary an advance. He gave up a single to pinch hitter Adam Lind and struck out Trea Turner. Baez advanced on a textbook sacrifice bunt by Hendricks.
Sean Doolittle (U.Va.) picked up the save for the Nats with a scoreless ninth. After a lovely bunt by Kyle Hendricks, and a fly ball by Zobrist, Kris Bryant would come through in the clutch with a single to right field scoring Baez. But Harper has become a clutch performer, along with Chicago's Anthony Rizzo. Houston leads its best-of-five matchup 2-0 after a pair of 8-2 wins, including a three-homer outburst from Jose Altuve on Thursday and long balls from Carlos Correa and George Springer on Friday. Luck be a Cubbie on this night. Can the Nationals take their new life into Wrigley Field Monday afternoon? "The third baseman is outstanding. Whatever we can to get people to support, we're ready to do". In their 16 turns at-bat over two evenings to open the series, the Nationals had gone 4-for-52, a cool - make that frigid -.077 average.
"The biggest thing is, Vegas is very small", Harper said after filming the PSA. In the ninth inning, Ryan Zimmerman almost reached base after a dropped third strike but was hit by the ball thrown by Willson Contreras.
What a comeback by the Nationals.
Do you need some luck to win? "But I'm telling you, to not include his name with these people just baffles me". We've got Max coming in Game 3. How about Javy's catch on that pop up? "You're playing against one of the best teams in all of baseball, but you have to understand that we are one of the best teams in all of baseball as well". "You have to capitalize on mistakes if they are forthcoming, especially a game like that". But when pitchers are at the top of their game, you have to score on outs.