Baker's future Nats' biggest offseason question

Washington not losing many players to free agency

Baker's future Nats' biggest offseason question

WASHINGTON -- As the Nationals begin this offseason -- which came much sooner than they expected -- the biggest question looming will be the status of manager Dusty Baker.

Washington will not stand to lose much to the free-agent market, with nearly all the crucial members of the team under contract for next season. The exception is Baker, who just reached the end of his initial two-year contract. Baker has said he wants to continue managing. Nats general manager Mike Rizzo said before the start of the postseason that he expected Baker to return next season and that they would work on a deal once the season was over.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Petriello

Turning point: Montgomery holds Zimmerman

Nats first baseman had lead of just 8 feet, below MLB average of 14.8

Turning point: Montgomery holds Zimmerman

There was a play in the midst of the wackiness of Game 5 of the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile that's almost certainly going to be lost to history. After all, it came in the midst of aces struggling in relief, a dropped third strike that led to a run after an errant throw, and however it was that you'd describe the entire fifth inning. What will be lost in the Cubs' dramatic victory to advance to the NL Championship Series presented by Camping World will be Daniel Murphy's sixth-inning double, because from the outside, it looked straightforward.

Murphy doubled to left, advancing Ryan Zimmerman from first to third while scoring Bryce Harper to close the Cubs' lead to 8-6 with two outs in the inning. Simple, right? Murphy doubled 43 times this year, seventh most in baseball. He does this a lot, and he looked pretty happy about this one.

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Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs savor moment after hard-fought series

'You live for this right here,' Bryant says of post-victory party

Cubs savor moment after hard-fought series

WASHINGTON -- Jon Lester doesn't remember who first provided the mindset, but he practices it after each series victory.

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Nathan Ruiz is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mark Feinsand

Nats left waiting for next year after '17 exit

NL East champions unable to get over NLDS hump

Nats left waiting for next year after '17 exit

WASHINGTON -- Clap. Clap. Clap.

Those were the only sounds echoing throughout the Nationals' clubhouse in the aftermath of their 9-8 loss to the Cubs on Thursday night in Game 5 of the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile.

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Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats' 2017 ride ends in 4th NLDS heartbreak

Nats' 2017 ride ends in 4th NLDS heartbreak

WASHINGTON -- The clubhouse had been prepared for a celebration. Temporary carpet had been installed on the floor and plastic was rolled up on the walls, ready to be unveiled to withstand a champagne celebration that would have washed away the disappointments of years past. Instead, the Nationals sat inside trying to make sense of it all, how such a promising season could end so abruptly once again.

The Nationals spent all season insisting this year's team was different. They were battle tested from this run of four division titles in six seasons. They entered the postseason with their deepest and most talented roster, put together devoid of any clear flaws. But October continued to be cruel to Washington. The latest blow came in the form of a 9-8 defeat at the hands of the defending World Series champion Cubs, who eliminated the Nationals in Game 5 of the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile on Thursday night.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats reflect on 'missed opportunity' in NLDS

Club left to make sense of latest early playoff exit

Nats reflect on 'missed opportunity' in NLDS

WASHINGTON -- As the Nationals dealt with another painful early exit from the postseason, it was seemingly difficult for them to pinpoint exactly why they were not able to fulfill their mission and expectation to dethrone the defending World Series champions and finally experience the thrill of advancing to the National League Championship Series.

"It was a series of bad events," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said after a season filled with legitimate Fall Classic aspirations concluded with Thursday night's wacky and eventful 9-8 loss to the Cubs in Game 5 of the NL Division Series presented by T-Mobile.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

In crucial spots, Cubs believe they will prevail

Epstein, Maddon laud players for persevering in face of adversity

In crucial spots, Cubs believe they will prevail

WASHINGTON -- Standing in the visitors' clubhouse at Nationals Park, soaked in beer and champagne as the club he assembled took part in a familiar celebration, Theo Epstein reeled off all the reasons the Cubs should have been heading home for the winter.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs tip caps to the Nats after NLDS win

Chicago pushed to brink in five-game series victory

Cubs tip caps to the Nats after NLDS win

WASHINGTON -- In many ways, Thursday night's marathon into Friday morning between the Cubs and Nationals was emblematic of the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile as a whole.

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Nathan Ruiz is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Werth in disbelief after possible Nats farewell

Outfielder emotional after Game 5 loss, reflects fondly on 7 seasons in DC

Werth in disbelief after possible Nats farewell

WASHINGTON -- As he tried to make sense of it all, with tears forming in his eyes, Jayson Werth kept coming back to one phrase.

"I can't believe we lost that game," he repeated after the Nationals' heartbreaking 9-8 loss to the Cubs on Thursday in the decisive Game 5 of the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

'Stone cold' Davis closes NLDS with 7-out save

'Stone cold' Davis closes NLDS with 7-out save

WASHINGTON -- A few times during the eighth and ninth innings, Wade Davis glanced at the visitors' bullpen at Nationals Park. No one was stirring. Davis was the last Cubs pitcher standing.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

DYK? Facts, figures from wild NLDS Game 5

DYK? Facts, figures from wild NLDS Game 5

It was long, grueling, dramatic and historic. When the dust settled at Nationals Park late Thursday night -- technically in the early hours of Friday morning on the East Coast -- the Cubs had outlasted the Nationals, 9-8, in Game 5 of the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile.

NLCS Game 1: Saturday, 8 p.m. ET/7 CT on TBS

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David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.

Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSimonMLB.

Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats tip caps to Cubs after falling in NLDS

Washington can't muster another comeback vs. reigning WS champs

Nats tip caps to Cubs after falling in NLDS

WASHINGTON -- All they could do was watch from the dugout as the sea of blue jerseys rushed their home turf in celebration. It was a feeling all too familiar for a Nationals team that has been unable to escape the ghost of playoffs past.

In one of the most erratic, roller-coaster rides of a game many of the Nationals said they had ever experienced, Washington fell to the Chicago Cubs, 9-8, on Thursday night in the deciding Game 5 of the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile. The game lasted four hours and 37 minutes, making it the longest nine-inning postseason game on record.

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Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter at @basebollie. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fifth inning of NLDS Game 5 is 'bizarro world'

Cubs benefit from strange happenings, scoring four runs

Fifth inning of NLDS Game 5 is 'bizarro world'

WASHINGTON -- In the solemn Nationals clubhouse and amid the rowdy celebration taking place on the other side of Nationals Park on Thursday night, everyone tried to find the right words to describe the pivotal fifth inning of the Cubs' 9-8 victory, which clinched their third straight trip to the National League Championship Series presented by Camping World.

NLCS Game 1: Saturday, 8 p.m. ET/7 CT on TBS

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fall 4! Cubs return to LCS, Fly The W in DC

Fall 4! Cubs return to LCS, Fly The W in DC

WASHINGTON -- Three down, eight to go. That's the countdown for Cubs' wins in their bid to repeat as defending World Series champions. They needed to rally Thursday night against the Nationals and Max Scherzer with a bizarre fifth inning that checked nearly every item in the box score to post a 9-8 Game 5 victory and clinch the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile.

• Gear up for the National League Championship Series

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Metrorail extending service in DC for Game 5

The Metrorail in Washington will remain open an hour later than usual on Thursday due to the 8 p.m. ET start time for Game 5 of the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile between the Nationals and Cubs.

NLDS Game 5: Tonight, 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on TBS

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Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs-Nats NLDS Game 5: In Real Life

Cubs-Nats NLDS Game 5: In Real Life

The Cubs held off the Nationals, 9-8, in the win-or-go-home Game 5 of the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile. MLB.com was on the scene in and around Nationals Park on Thursday night.

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Gio draws start for Nats in decisive Game 5

Gio draws start for Nats in decisive Game 5

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals are placing their hopes for their first playoff series win in the hands of Gio Gonzalez, who will start tonight against the Cubs in a winner-take-all Game 5 of the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile at Nationals Park.

Gonzalez will pitch on regular rest after starting Game 2 on Saturday, when he allowed three earned runs over five innings in the Nationals' 6-3 win. He'll face Kyle Hendricks, who started and won Game 1 after pitching seven scoreless innings.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs, Nationals lineups for Game 5 of NLDS

Cubs, Nationals lineups for Game 5 of NLDS

The Cubs and Nationals have revealed tonight's starting lineup for Game 5 of the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile.

Chicago is hoping to keep its quest alive to become the first repeat World Series champions since 2000, while Washington is seeking its first postseason series win since arriving in the nation's capital in 2005.

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Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

3 keys for the Nats in Game 5 of NLDS

Washington looks to advance to first NLCS in decisive game vs. Cubs

3 keys for the Nats in Game 5 of NLDS

CHICAGO -- Courtesy of two power-fueled eighth-inning eruptions and consistently stingy efforts by their pitching staff, the Nationals are one win away from advancing to their first National League Championship Series presented by Camping World.

NLDS Game 5: Tonight, 8 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. CT on TBS

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Taylor fulfills promise with against-all-odds slam

Nationals' center fielder puts exclamation point on Game 4 victory

Taylor fulfills promise with against-all-odds slam

CHICAGO -- Michael A. Taylor has been described as both an impressive five-tool talent and a late bloomer. Over the course of the past year, he has displayed the power of perseverance and proven he still should be considered a significant future asset for the Nationals.

• NLDS Game 5: Tonight, 8 p.m. ET on TBS

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Mark Bowman has been an Atlanta-based reporter for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Cubs, Hendricks will be ready for Game 5

With season on line, defending champs turn to battle-tested righty

Cubs, Hendricks will be ready for Game 5

CHICAGO -- Wasn't this what you expected?

This postseason matchup didn't just command attention from the time division titles were clinched. It stirred the imagination back in June, when the Cubs made their first visit to Washington.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs accustomed to playing must-win games

Defending champs had to rally three times in '16 postseason

Cubs accustomed to playing must-win games

CHICAGO -- The Cubs know something about playing in decisive games. It wasn't that long ago -- Nov. 2, to be exact -- when they faced a must-win situation in Game 7 of the World Series against the Indians.

NLDS Game 5: Tonight, 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on TBS

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mark Feinsand

Career-defining start for former No. 1 pick Stras

Career-defining start for former No. 1 pick Stras

CHICAGO -- In the city whose most famous athlete is renowned for the legendary "flu game," Stephen Strasburg fought off an illness of his own to produce a career-defining night for which he will long be remembered.

• NLDS Game 5: Tonight, 8 p.m. ET on TBS

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Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Arrieta effective, but Russell's error costly

Arrieta effective, but Russell's error costly

CHICAGO -- Jake Arrieta wasn't as sharp as he would've liked. Addison Russell admitted a grounder took a funny hop on him. Wade Davis threw a pitch he'd like to have back.

NLDS Game 5: Tonight, 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on TBS

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

3 keys to Cubs clinching NLDS in Game 5

Bryzzo's bats crucial for Chicago in win-or-go-home contest

3 keys to Cubs clinching NLDS in Game 5

CHICAGO -- The Cubs' back-and-forth series against the Nationals is going back to Washington for one, winner-take-all showdown.

NLDS Game 5: Tonight, 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on TBS

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs-Nats: Must-win G5 tonight, 8 ET (TBS)

Cubs-Nats: Must-win G5 tonight, 8 ET (TBS)

Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

DYK? Facts, figures from wild Wednesday

DYK? Facts, figures from wild Wednesday

One Game 5 was set up Wednesday. Another was settled.

Stephen Strasburg overcame an illness to stave off elimination, with help from a Michael A. Taylor grand slam, and the Nationals shut out the Cubs, 5-0, at Wrigley Field in Game 4 of the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile. Washington will try to advance to the NL Championship Series presented by Camping World for the first time in club history on Thursday at Nationals Park, with the Dodgers waiting in the wings.

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Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.

Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Doctor October! Sick Strasburg cures Nats

Victory sets up winner-take-all Game 5 tonight in Washington

Doctor October! Sick Strasburg cures Nats

CHICAGO -- The Washington Nationals are not only showing new life, they suddenly look better than ever after a dramatic series-tying performance for the ages. And it all started with Doctor October.

NLDS Game 5: Tonight, 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on TBS

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lester notches rare pickoff in strong relief stint

Cubs lefty nabs Nats' Zimmerman in NLDS Game 4

Lester notches rare pickoff in strong relief stint

CHICAGO -- Before Game 4 of the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile began on Wednesday, manager Joe Maddon plotted the Cubs' pitching plan. If the series saw a Game 5, as it will Thursday night at Nationals Park, then he would designate Jose Quintana to back up starter Kyle Hendricks. He wanted Jon Lester to be ready Wednesday in relief of Jake Arrieta.

NLDS Game 5: Tonight at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on TBS

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs confident with battle-tested Hendricks

Under-the-radar righty starts winner-take-all Game 5

Cubs confident with battle-tested Hendricks

CHICAGO -- On Thursday night, the Cubs will put their season in the right hand of Kyle Hendricks.

• NLDS Game 5: Tonight, 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on TBS

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.