Nats, Cards in unlikely matchup
With the top teams out of the mix, it’s on to a most unlikely matchup in the NL Championship Series.
The Cardinals are back in the NLCS for the first time since 2014 after a stunner of an inning in Atlanta.
They’ll face the Nationals, who dispatched their playoff demons with an upset of the 106-win Dodgers.
“We know we can beat anyone at this point,” Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong said.
The best-of-seven series begins Friday night at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. This was the first time since 2015 that both of a league’s top seeds were eliminated in the division series.
The Cardinals were within four outs of elimination against the Braves in Game 4, but bounced back for a 10th-inning victory.
The deciding game in Atlanta was over not long after it started.
The Cardinals became the first team in baseball history to score 10 runs in the opening inning of a postseason game and went on to a 13-1 victory.
“It felt like we blinked and the next thing you know, it’s 10-0,” third baseman Matt Carpenter said.
Just making the playoffs didn’t seem likely after the Nationals lost star slugger Bryce Harper in free agency and then got off to a 19-31 start.
But the Nationals went 74-38 the rest of the way to claim a playoff spot, rallied from three runs down to beat the Brewers 4-3 in the wild-card game, and then pulled off another escape job against the mighty Dodgers in the NLDS.
The Nationals celebrate after Wednesday night’s comeback win over the Dodgers.