The Cardinals' backs are against the wall, and they have little time to turn things around.

Three takeaways from the Nationals' Game 3 win over Cardinals


Washington topped St. Louis for a third straight time Monday, claiming an 8-1 victory in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series.

The Nationals now lead the series 3-0 and are nearing a sweep, making their unexpected playoff run even more impressive.

The Cardinals' backs are against the wall, and they have little time to turn things around.

Here are three takeaways from Washington's win:

Stephen Strasburg was electric

Stephen Strasburg was flat-out dominant against St. Louis on Monday. The right-handed ace threw a season-high 117 pitches and struck out 12 batters in seven innings of work. He mowed down the Cardinals with his off-speed pitches consistently as they tried to anticipate his choices all night.

St. Louis' lone run against Strasburg came after Juan Soto slipped while trying to make a throw from the outfield and missed the cutoff man. This mistake snapped the Nationals starters' streak of more than 20 innings without giving up a score in the series.

The Cardinals tallied seven hits on the night and only one was an extra-base hit. That's what good pitching can do.

Washington's "old guys" made a big difference

The Nationals have a host of seasoned veterans on their roster, including 36-year-old Howie Kendrick and 35-year-old Ryan Zimmerman. Both of them had impressive performances in Game 3. Kendrick went 3 for 4 with three RBIs on three doubles while Zimmerman went 2 for 4 with two RBIs. Max Scherzer couldn't have been more right when he said "old guys can still do it," last week.

Washington's experience could prove to be vital again Tuesday in Game 4, and sweeping the Cardinals will give it more recovery time as it prepares for a World Series push.

The Cardinals' stars failed to show up

It's easy to see no Cardinals player had a great showing when the box score shows zero RBIs, but too many of their top performers had no impact on the game offensively. Paul Goldschmidt, Kolten Wong and Dexter Fowler went a combined 0 for 12 against the Nationals. 

Goldschmidt and Fowler combined for seven strikeouts in their eight at-bats and unfortunate performances like that will almost always lead to defeat.

The top of the Cardinals' lineup will have to be better and create some momentum if the team hopes to put up a fight against Washington.



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