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Peavy, Giants Bullpen Shut Down Nationals In Game 1

Max Holm |
October 3, 2014 | 7:22 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Jordan Zimmerman no-hit the Miami Marlins last Sunday to end the regular season for the Washington Nationals in stunning fashion, as if the fans of D.C. weren't excited enough for the playoffs.

But Nats fans won't be feeling great tonight after the Giants stole Game 1 on the road behind great pitching from Jake Peavy and the bullpen. On the other side was Stephen Strasburg who struggled in his first post-season start. Strasburg lasted five innings and only struck out two Giants. He gave up one earned run and eight hits, all singles.

San Francisco scored a run in the 3rd and 4th innings to open up an early 2-0 lead. Rookie Joe Panik got the party started with an RBI  single and Brandon Belt knocked in Hunter Pence an inning later. 

Bryce Harper came up in the bottom of the 7th with his team trailing 3-0 and went yard to give the Nation's Capital some hope. More hope was restored when two batters later Asdrubal Cabrera added his own solo shot. But that's when Bruce Bochy went to the dominant trio of Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo and closer Santiago Casilla, who shut down the Nats. 

Jake Peavy stepped up with just short of six shutout innings, after having a career muddled by little postseason success. Despite winning a ring in Boston, Peavy was winless, 0-3 with a 9.27 ERA via baseball-reference, in his postseason career before Friday's win against the Nats. The former Padre gave up just two hits through 5 2/3 innings.

SEE MORE: 2014 Los Angeles Angels Playoff Preview Q&A

Jordan Zimmermann is tasked with reviving Washington's playoff hopes. (Wikimedia Commons)
Jordan Zimmermann is tasked with reviving Washington's playoff hopes. (Wikimedia Commons)
Game 2 on Saturday will see another savvy vet take the mound for San Fran as Tim Hudson tries to give the Giants a dominant 2-0 series lead. Jordan Zimmerman on the hill for Washington will try and do his best to top his last start, a no-hitter. 

Doug Fister is penciled in to start Game 3 for the Nats in San Francisco, while the Giants haven't announced their starter yet. Madison Bumgarner should get the call.

Should the Giants win Game 2, it will certainly be an interesting debate as to who should start Game 3. Do the Giants try and win the series right there and then with their ace, or does San Fran roll the dice that you can sweep the Nats and bank on Bumgarner getting a lot of rest to start the League Championship series?

The Nats should be in every game though thanks to their deep starting pitching, but for the Nationals to get back in this series, they need the top of their order to step up and get some early runs. Dernard Span, their speedy lead off man, was 0 for 4 and the meat of the lineup, 2nd through 5th, were 2 for 13; that's not going to cut it in October, especially against a team as experienced as the Giants. Manager Matt Williams has to be happy with Harper's day at the plate and getting him going could really ignite a new fire and energy into the lineup.

For the Giants, this was a big win to not just win on the road, but to beat Strasburg, since ace Madison Bumgarner wasn't available after shutting out Pittsburgh in the Wild Card game. The Giants will be confident they can win Bumgarner's start, meaning they'd need to win just one more game, not to mention the possibility of the lefty pitching twice in this Division Series. 

This series shouldn't stay as low scoring as Game 1 after the Giants went 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position. The Nats weren't much better batting 0 for 5. As the series picks up, it's doubtful that that many men will be stranded on base.

The Nationals have the better rotation in this series, but the Giants have the best ace in Bumgarner; he should be able to outduel any of the Nats' pitchers. A 2-0 hole, on the road against Madison Bumgarner would spell doom for the Nats.

So Game 2 tomorrow is, if it wasn't already, a must-win game for DC. 

Reach Staff Reporter Max Holm here.



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