|Jayson Werth landed the knockout punch in Game 4. (AP)|
Thanks to some great pitching, a liberal strike zone and a certain hirsute slugger, there will be a Game 5 in D.C.
Hero: You could praise either starting pitcher to the heavens, but, well, this one was about Jayson Werth's clutch, walk-off bomb in the ninth off Lance Lynn. The Nationals bullpen had been worked hard in the series, and a game deep into extras could have been trouble. Werth put those concerns to rest with one mighty swing.
Goat: Jim Joyce. Yes, the home-plate umpire. He's a swell guy, famously accountable and generally regarded as one of the best in the business. But his Game 4 strike zone was a complete mess. Witness his called zone for right-handed batters (courtesy of BrooksBaseball.net) …
The zone is pictured from the umpire's perspective. The red squares are called strikes thrown by Washington pitchers, and the red triangles are strikes thrown by Cardinals. As you can see, Joyce had a criminally wide zone when it came to the low-and-outside offering to right-handed hitters.
Sure, you can find some consistency in there, but consistently being wrong isn't exactly praiseworthy.
Turning point: It wasn't the most fundamentally sound play on the part of Ian Desmond, but his ranging Matt Carpenter pop-up ended the Cardinal ninth and prevented Pete Kozma from scoring the go-ahead run.
It was over when: This was a hotly contested nip-and-tucker from start to finish. The outcome was in doubt until Werth hit the final pitch into the Cardinal bullpen.
Next: The Cards and Nats will play a fifth and deciding game on Friday starting at 8:30 pm ET.