Cubs will themselves to win, prevail in "crazy" Game 5 over Nationals

Bryce Harper swung and missed for strike three and Cubs catcher Willson Contreras tossed his glove and mask and joined a hug-fest of gray uniforms around closer Wade Davis on the pitcher's mound at a shocked Nationals Park. The Cubs beat the Nationals 9-8 to win their National League Division Series in five games. After the game, the Cubs headed to Los Angeles to get ... read more

Maddon rolls the dice, pays the price for going against convention

With one out and pinch-runner Victor Robles on first base in the eighth inning, the Nationals' Bryce Harper was at the plate against Cubs right-hander Carl Edwards Jr. Never mind that lefty Mike Montgomery was ready in the Cubs bullpen. Cubs manager Joe Maddon played the percentages. He left the lefty in the bullpen. Maddon wanted Edwards to face Harper, a left-handed batter, even though ... read more

Cubs wait out Strasburg, emerge with 1-0 lead in NLDS

Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg looked unhittable for five innings Friday night. Then the Chicago Cubs came to bat in the sixth inning. That's when everything changed. The Cubs scored twice against the Nationals starter, who had a 0.86 ERA after the All-Star break as well as a streak of 35 consecutive scoreless innings, on their way to a 3-0 win against the Nationals in Game ... read more

Breaking down the 10 postseason teams and their October storylines

After losing three National League Division Series - to the Cardinals, Giants and Dodgers - the Nationals are in the postseason for the fourth time in six seasons. The Nationals, who finished with 97 wins and start the NLDS on Friday at home against the Cubs, have the deepest rotation, a rebuilt bullpen, depth, and a versatile offense that has power, speed and a blend ... read more

A question-and-answer session as baseball hits September stretch run

A question-and-answer session for September: Question: The Nationals are on the verge of clinching the National League East. It seems early for clinch talk, right? Answer: Early clinches are defining the season when you consider the big leads of the Nationals, Dodgers and Astros. But there have been earlier clinch dates. The 1975 Reds clinched on Sept. 7. Cleveland clinched in 1995 and 1998 on ... read more

Wins and losses more important to Stanton than home run record

September is here, and already the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton feels as if he's been asked a "zillion'' times about his surge in home runs. So if Stanton winds up with more than Roger Maris' 61 home runs and fewer than Barry Bonds' 73, does he own baseball's single-season home run record? Stanton paused and stared into his locker before answering the question at Nationals Park ... read more

Taking a look at the bizarre AL wild card race

The American League wild card race is bizarre, flawed or mediocre - whatever you choose to call it. In most seasons, teams struggling to stay above .500 would be long gone out of the race. Not this year. Here is what makes the AL wild card race so wild: * The Twins, who lost 103 games in 2016, are contenders even with a rotation that ... read more

Where the American League postseason race stands

With less than two months to go, there's not a lot of drama in the National League races. The Nationals most likely will play either the Cubs, Brewers or surging Cardinals in the Division Series, while the Dodgers will play the winner of the projected Diamondbacks-Rockies wild card game. The American League is more complex. Teams are bunched and a .500 record keeps a team ... read more