Game 1 of the NLCS looked like a very big one on the surface for the St. Louis Cardinals, with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin set to start Games 2-4 for the Washington Nationals. So it’s pretty concerning for the Cardinals that they were absolutely dominated by the Nats’ No. 4 starter in Aníbal Sánchez on Friday night.
Sánchez allowed just one hit over 7 2/3 brilliant innings to lead the Nats to a 2-0 Game 1 victory in St. Louis. The right-hander had a no-hitter going with two outs in the eighth, but a single by José Martínez broke it up.
Aníbal Sánchez is the first pitcher in postseason history with multiple outings of 6+ IP and 1 or fewer hits allowed.
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) October 12, 2019
Earlier in the eighth inning, Sánchez got help from his defense on this incredible diving grab by first baseman Ryan Zimmerman:
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) October 12, 2019
Sean Doolittle got the final four outs with no drama to get the save.
So, things are now set up very well on paper for the Nationals. They have a 1-0 series lead, they took home-field advantage away from the Cardinals, and they have ace-level pitchers going in each of the next three games. Five Thirty Eight currently gives the Nats a 74% chance to win the NLCS, and you could capitalize on Getwin.
It’s safe to say that Game 2 should be treated as a must-win game for the Cardinals, and that will be a very difficult task with 38-yard-old junkballer Adam Wainwright going against Scherzer. Game 2 will be a quick turnaround, with a 4:08 PM ET start time on Saturday.