I remarked three innings ago that the ball is flying out of Wrigley Field today, and the Nationals’ pitching staff needed to be careful not to let the Cubs get back into this one.
Well, you can certainly sense things headed that way. Washington’s bats have gone silent since that early five-run explosion. Meanwhile, the Cubs have been threatening to get back into this one, with Derrek Lee homering off J.D. Martin in the fifth to make it 5-3.
Martin seemed to be teetering on the brink there, and Jim Riggleman made the wise decision to pull him after five innings (though Martin’s pitch count of 103 probably helped). Tyler Clippard just pitched a 1-2-3 sixth, and that was an important bridge for the Nats bullpen. Clippard’s going to lead off the seventh, so he’ll be back out there in the bottom of the inning, then hang things over to the back end of the Washington bullpen.
Another run or two out of the Nats, though, would be nice.