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Nationals Pitching Puts an Old-School Tactic on the Cutting Edge

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Nationals Pitching Puts an Old-School Tactic on the Cutting Edge

The strategy may backfire – as did the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw at the end of the series against Washington on Wednesday – but the prospect of seeing the best pitchers more often adds extra hiss in October.

"In the five game series, you need to be creative and seize the opportunity every chance you get," Scherzer said. "In the seven-game series, the way you set yourself up, it's more like the regular season."

The Nationals and Cardinals plan to use four entries in this series, as most teams do in the best of seven format. For Washington, that means three pitchers in Scherzer, Strasburg and Corbin, whose combined salaries total $ 525 million – and Sanchez, who signed last December for two years and $ 19 million.

Sanchez, 35, has been present since 2006, when he played a hitter as a rookie for the Marlins. Friday's effort was not the first time he allowed any hits when starting an L.C.S. opening: He also did it in 2013 in Detroit, Boston, but only lasted six entries. Sanchez made 116 pitches that night, and the Tigers bullpen lost the non-hitter in the ninth.

This time, Sanchez almost took care of things on his own, confusing the Cardinals with a variety of off-speed pitches – including a type of trade that his teammates call "the Butterfly" – and a fastball that rarely travels 145 kilometers. per hour. When the first baseman, Ryan Zimmerman, made a dive capture on an ocean liner to start the eighth, Sanchez hoped to finish the gem.

"I think I did," he said, adding that a similar highlight preserved his non-hitter for the Marlins. "Zimmerman, he took the ball and I said," OK, always behind a batter, a good play has to happen. "And I said," OK, I caught. " "

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