Chicago Cubs lose to Washington Nationals 5-0 in NLDS Game 4; Game 5 Thursday

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The Washington Nationals forced Game 5 of of the National League Division Series, beating the Cubs 5-0 in Game 4 at Wrigley Field. Game 5 will be Thursday in D.C. (WLS)

The Washington Nationals forced Game 5 of of the National League Division Series, beating the Cubs 5-0 in Game 4 at Wrigley Field. Game 5 will be in Washington, D.C., Thursday.

Stephen Strasburg shook off an illness and all doubts about his mettle to pitch seven dominant innings, Michael A. Taylor hit a late grand slam and the Washington Nationals beat the Chicago Cubs 5-0 on Wednesday to send their NL Division Series to a decisive Game 5.

The teams packed up at Wrigley Field and headed back to Washington for Game 5 Thursday night. Kyle Hendricks starts for the Cubs after throwing seven sharp innings in a 3-0 victory over Strasburg in Game 1. Gio Gonzalez is the likely starter for the Nationals, with Max Scherzer lurking in the bullpen.

Strasburg got sick after his terrific performance in the playoff opener on Friday, and the Nationals had planned to go with Tanner Roark even after a persistent rain washed out Game 4 on Tuesday. That led to a flurry of comments and criticism about whether the ace had the stuff to pitch in big moments.

But Strasburg felt better when he woke up Wednesday and told manager Dusty Baker he wanted the ball with Washington's season on the line.

DISAPPOINTMENT AT THE FRIENDLY CONFINES

The "L" flag flew high above Wrigley. The loss was hard to swallow.

"Disaster," said fan Brandon Stojan. "They're flat. They got nothing. They got no spunk. They don't have their fire that they had. I don't know where it went, but we need it back for the last game.

At Murphy's Bleachers, Washington's grand slam meant grand disappointment. The disastrous eighth inning had fans leaving Wrigley early, waterlogged and wondering if the postponement of Game 4 had an impact.

"Totally killed the momentum for us. We were here all day yesterday waiting for the game to start. It didn't start. It just killed the juju overnight," said Joanna Touzios, Cubs fan.

"You could just tell there's something weird in the air tonight. I don't know if it was the weather, the wind. They're going to get it together. I promise," said Zachary Hert, Cubs fan.

But despite the blank looks and stunned silence, fans are starting to rebound.

"Obviously we won it all last year, so we know what we're capable of. So I think, you know, everyone's excited," said Rita Dawod, Cubs fan.

"We got tomorrow. It's best of five. It's not over. It's not over. It keeps going," said Adam Smestad, Cubs fan.

The Cubs will host a NLDS Game 5 viewing party Thursday at the Park at Wrigley. Tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. Visit parkatwrigley.com to buy tickets and for more information.

Tickets are required for the viewing party. They cost $10, and net proceeds benefit Cubs Charities. Gates to the Park at Wrigley will open one hour before the start of the game broadcast and will close at the end of the game.

FANS WERE OPTIMISTIC EARLY IN THE DAY

Fans entered the Friendly Confines under tight security. But they were, as Cubs fans always are, dressed in style and ready to brave the weather conditions.

"This is my mother's onesie that I borrowed. It's nice and comfortable for this chilly weather," said Cameron Markiewicz, fan.

"It's unbelievable. Everybody is excited, waiting for the Cubs to win again," said Bob Burg, fan.

Some fans had to scramble to make it back to the game today.

"I had to take off, but it was not a problem," said fan Julie Koelzer.

"I texted my boss and said the game was going to be postponed," said Cubs fan Austin Kepler. "He said go ahead."

Some called in sick with Cubs fever.

"I just told a bunch of lies," said Patrick Talkowski. "It will be okay."

One Nationals fan had to give up his playoff ticket because of the postponement.

"I was here visiting my son we had tickets for Game 3 but I am rained out of Game 4 so he's going to take one of his buddies today so I got to get back to work," said Nationals fan Mark Townsend.

Greg Fobert can't imagine being any other play than at Wrigley Field. His love of the Cubs is written all over his arm; the tattoo took 20 hours to complete.

"I love the compliments. I get stopped by other fans. It is just awesome," he said.

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The stage is set for Game 4 of the National League Division Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Washington Nationals.



The weather also brought up memories from last year's World Series.

"I remember last year in the play offs there was pretty crummy weather and we always did well. I mean Chicago sports, we're used to it," said Cubs fan Jack Grant. "The Cubs can handle it, it's the Nationals that are going to have trouble with this."

The winner of the NLDS takes on the Dodgers in the next round, scheduled to begin Saturday in Los Angeles.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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sportsChicago CubsCubsbaseballMLBWashington Nationalswrigley fieldChicagoWrigleyville
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