In one of the most gutty performances in the annals of postseason sports, Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg shrugged off the flu and threw the game of his career on Wednesday afternoon in rainy and dreary Wrigley Field against the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs.
It had been reported that Strasburg was as sick as a dog and wouldn’t be available in what was the most critical game in the Nationals’ playoff history, but like a true champion, he pulled himself up off of his sickbed and nearly single-handedly beat an overwhelmed opponent that is now on the ropes.
— NBC4 Sports (@NBC4Sports) October 12, 2017
Not since Michael Jordan played with the flu in game five of the 1997 NBA finals against the Utah Jazz has such a gutty effort been put forth with so much at stake.
Jordan’s Chicago Bulls went on to win the league title in six games. While it’s too early to say whether Strasburg’s coming up big will result in a World Series win – there’s a lot of baseball left – it should serve as an inspiration to his teammates.
Such is the stuff of which legends are made.
Strasburg went on to notch 12 strikeouts, breaking his own postseason record:
39 Seconds of Stephen Strasburg's Legendarily Filthy Changeups. 👑😷 pic.twitter.com/8TrRjvasbg
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 12, 2017
By the time that the Nationals added a grand slam home run for the icing on the cake and a 5-0 win, the Cubbies spirits had long since been broken, their fans sodden with rain and watered down beer and the dream of a second consecutive title all but extinguished.
It will be hard to see them recovering in time for tonight’s winner-take-all game before a raucous crowd at Nationals Park tonight.
The game starts at 8 pm ET. Kyle Hendricks will be pitching for the Cubs, the Nats have yet to announce a starter but Max Scherzer will at the very least, be available out of the bullpen if needed.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) October 11, 2017
The winner will face the Los Angeles Dodgers.