Nationals choose Stephen Strasburg to start Game 1

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Making official what was expected, the Nationals announced that Stephen Strasburg will start Game 1 of the NLDS against the Giants. It’ll be Strasburg’s postseason debut.

Jordan Zimmermann, fresh off his regular season finale no-hitter, will start Game 2 and Doug Fister will get the ball in Game 3. So far at least manager Matt Williams has not said what his plans are for Game 4. Gio Gonzalez is the obvious option, especially with Tanner Roark likely to work out of the bullpen, but the Nationals could also bring back Strasburg on short rest if needed and then use Zimmermann on normal rest in Game 5.

Strasburg’s win-loss record this season wasn’t great because of poor lineup and bullpen support, but he threw 215 innings with a 3.14 ERA and league-leading 242 strikeouts. Washington’s rotation depth is, on paper at least, pretty incredible.

Attempting to complete cycle, Robinson Chirinos thrown out to end game

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With his Astros trailing the Tigers 2-1, catcher Robinson Chirinos began his at-bat in the bottom of the ninth a triple shy of the cycle. He doubled in the second inning, singled in the fourth, and hit a solo homer in the seventh. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel both struck out, leaving the Astros’ fate in the hands of Chirinos against Joe Jiménez. After working the count to 2-1, Chirinos slapped an 85 MPH slider to the gap in right-center field. A diving Travis Demeritte could not come up with the ball, but center fielder Harold Castro fired the ball back in to Gordon Beckham, who then made a perfect throw to Dawel Lugo at third base. Chirinos was tagged out for the final out of the game. No triple, no cycle. The Astros lost 2-1.

Chirinos was attempting to become the first Astro to hit for the cycle since Brandon Barnes on July 19, 2013 against the Mariners.

The Astros entered Wednesday’s game as the largest favorite in 15 seasons, according to ESPN’s David Purdum. The Astros were -500 per Caesars Sportsbook. Other sportsbooks had them at -550. So the Tigers’ win was quite the upset.

Justin Verlander went the distance in the loss. The only blemishes on his line were solo homers to Ronny Rodríguez in the fifth and John Hicks in the ninth. They were the only hits he allowed while walking none and striking out 11.