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Stephen Strasburg Dominates As The Nationals Force A Game 5 In The NLDS

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The Washington Nationals are not done yet.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Nationals defeated the Chicago Cubs 5-0 at Wrigley Field in Game 4 of the National League Division Series. Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg had a spectacular outing with his team’s season on the line. Thanks to Strasburg, the series will now head back to Washington for Game 5.

Originally, Strasburg was not even supposed to start Game 4. Nationals manager Dusty Baker was going to send Tanner Roark out to the mound on Tuesday afternoon, the day Game 4 was supposed to take place. However, the game got rained out and was postponed until Wednesday. Strasburg was ruled out on Tuesday because of flu-like symptoms. Because the game got pushed until Wednesday though, he decided he was ready to take the hill for the Nationals.

Still sick, Strasburg battled through the less than desirable conditions of the Windy City and pitched a great game. He threw seven shutout innings, surrendering just three hits and two walks while striking out 12 batters. The Cubs hitters could not figure out Strasburg, as he put forth a dominating performance.

The Nationals scored an early run thanks to a two-out error by Cubs shortstop Addison Russell. This was all they were able to muster until the top of the eighth inning, when Michael Taylor hit a grand slam off of Carl Edwards Jr. This big home run virtually ended the Cubs chances of making a comeback in the game. The Nationals bullpen pitched two scoreless innings and finished off the game.

With the 5-0 victory, the Nationals will still have the opportunity to advance to the National League Championship Series for the first time ever. They have lost in the NLDS three previous times, in 2012, 2014 and 2016. The Cubs will try and advance to the NLCS for the third consecutive year.

Game 5 between the Cubs and Nationals will take place on Thursday at 8:08 PM ET. Kyle Hendricks will be on the mound for the Cubs, while the Nationals have yet to announce their starter. In all likelihood, either Roark or Gio Gonzalez will go for Washington.

Chicago Cubs

Cubs Acquire Terrance Gore

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The Chicago Cubs have acquired outfielder Terrance Gore from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for cash considerations, according to an announcement from the organization on Wednesday.

Gore, 27, will bring the Cubs a  legit base-stealing threat.

Gore is likely to start off his run with the Cubs in their minor league system as they eye using him as a weapon in the playoffs, and could be called up when rosters officially are expanded for the stretch run in September.

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Cubs Sign Jorge De La Rosa

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The Chicago Cubs have signed left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, according to a team announcement (h/t MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat)

In corresponding moves, the Cubs transferred starting pitcher Yu Darivish to the 6-day disabled list and left-hander Randy Rosario, who has pitched to a 3.00 ERA so far this season, was designated for assignment.

De La Rosa was released by the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier this week after struggling to a 4.63 ERA this season.

 

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Agent for Cubs’ Yu Darvish Fires Back At Alex Rodriguez

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The agent for injured Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Yu Darvish is not too happy about comments made by Alex Rodriguez on ESPN saying that comments were “classless.”

Rodriguez accused the pitcher of being a distraction and that he was negatively affecting the team’s clubhouse.

“I think it was classless and bordered on unprofessional to take a little nugget of somewhat exaggerated information from one person that maybe he had history with and turning that into a spokesman for the entire team,” agent Joel Wolfe said, according to The Athletic.

“Matt [Vasgersian], the problem is, and I’m pretty passionate about this, when you have 25 players coming to the stadium, you’re there to do one thing and that’s win a ball game” Rodriguez said on the ESPN telecast on Sunday.

“You want all the energy, all the focus, all the analytics, all the stretching: What are we going to do today to win a ball game?

The Cubs inked Darvish to a six-year, $126 million deal this offseason in a deal that is already proving to be a bust as Darvish has gone  1-3 with a 4.95 ERA in eight starts, with 2 trips to the disabled list.

“And when you have a guy that signs an enormous contract and he’s sitting down, and you walk in the training room, and he’s got two trainers working on him, you go into the video room and you have a guy looking at video … he should be in Arizona somewhere getting treated. But don’t get in the way of 25 players going after one mission: to win a ball game.”

Rodriguez continued his criticism, questioning Darvish’s commitment when the struggles of Cubs starter Tyler Chatwood was brought up.

“He gets beat down but gets back up,” Rodriguez said of Chatwood. “He takes a punch and gets back up. And you’ll never see players complain or whine about a guy like that. They actually back him. So this is an issue that, if you’re Cubs Nation, you have to watch the Yu Darvish development because it’s not good inside that clubhouse right now.”

Cubs manager Joe Maddon offered his thoughts on A-Rod’s comments after Sunday’s game.

“I totally disagree with that,” Maddon said. “Everyone knows what’s going on. We know there is an injury there. We support his recovery. Everybody in there knows, and everyone in the coaches’ room knows also, throughout the organization. It’s unfortunate that it was relayed that way, but it’s not true.”

Wolfe continued his rant.

“… [A-Rod’s] attacking a player who is injured and on the disabled list, which is difficult for any player, especially one who has a big contract and is in his first year [with a new team]. Imagine how difficult it is for Darvish. But then also attacking him for staying with the team?

“During A-Rod’s absurd comments, the video shows that Darvish was right there on the top step in the dugout cheering on his teammates, which is what you want from somebody like that. He wasn’t hiding out in Mesa at the spring training complex or back home like A-Rod was when he was suspended.”

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