Our coverage blanketed yesterdayâ€™s Game 1 victory, but three important contributions from Nationals players went overlooked:
Kurt Suzuki: He allowed one wild pitch past him, a fastball inside and in the dirt from Gio Gonzalez that Olie Kolzig would have had trouble stopping in his prime. But how many balls did he manage to block, from both Gonzalez and the Nationalsâ€™ relievers? He may have allowed one run to score on a wild pitch, but he saved many more. Thatâ€™s not to mention his RBI single in the first, which came on Adam Wainwrightâ€™s vicious curveball.
Tyler Clippard: After struggling for most of September, Clippard righted himself in his last few outings of the season. Sunday afternoon, he had to get four outs after Ryan Zimmermanâ€™s throwing error, a short hop to Adam Laroche, put the leadoff runner on in the eighth. After a sacrifice bunt, Clippard got a pop up and struck out Matt Carpenter looking at a changeup. We covered Drew Storen, but Clippard also offered some late-inning comfort for the Nationals.
Bo Porter: The Nationals set up both of their run-scoring innings with Adam LaRoche and Michael Morse going first-to-third on singles. They happen to be the slowest runners in the Nationalsâ€™ lineup. Porter coordinates the running game, and so for them to have that confidence to run, they must have had some guidance about the strength of the Cardinalsâ€™ arms. Credit goes to them, but also to Porter and probably also to Kasey McKeon, the Nationalsâ€™ advance scout on the Cardinals.