The Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals began the 2019 National League Championship Series with Game 1 on Friday night at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Veteran right-hander Anibal Sanchez has kept the Cardinals hitless and scoreless through the first 7 2/3 innings, only giving up a walk and hitting two batters before yielding a single to Jose Martinez. First baseman Ryan Zimmerman made an impressive diving play to rob Tommy Edman of at least a single (and possibly a double) to begin the bottom of the eighth, but Martinez was able to break it up a few batters later.

The Nationals struck first in the second inning thanks to the bottom of their order. Howie Kendrick, the Game 5 hero, led off with a double. He later scored on a Yan Gomes double, giving Washington an early lead. (Gomes is in the lineup due to Kurt Suzuki taking a Walker Buehler fastball off the wrist and face in Game 5.) The Nationals later plated a second run thanks to Kendrick singling in Adam Eaton following a triple in the seventh.

The game can be streamed on fuboTV (Try for free). Below, you can follow along with our live blog.

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Though the Nationals had a better regular-season record (93-69) than the Cardinals (91-71), by virtue of winning their division (as opposed to being a wild card) the Cardinals will possess home-field advantage in this series as a product of baseball’s playoff seeding rules. 

Given the Nationals have topped the odds to get here — staging a late, furious comeback against one of the best relievers in baseball in the Wild Card Game, then knocking off the top seed in the Dodgers during the NLDS — having to play on the road one additional time seems unlikely to bother them. If there is a drawback for the Nationals, it’s that they’ll open the series with Anibal Sanchez as opposed to one of their three aces.

Sanchez pitched well in his NLDS start, and is coming off a better regular season than most realize. He pitches with a broad arsenal, beginning with a 90 mph fastball and including a swing-and-miss splitter that coerced whiffs on nearly a third of swings, per Statcast data.

Opposing Sanchez is Miles Mikolas. Mikolas throws a bit harder, with his heater checking in at 93 mph, and does almost all of his bidding with one of his fastballs or one of his two breaking balls — an upper-80s slider or a curve that’s about 10 ticks slower.

Game 2 is Saturday afternoon in St. Louis before the series shifts to Washington D.C. for Monday’s Game 3.





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