That was the common opinion on the state of the Washington Nationals going into game four of the National League Division Series. Even after a demoralizing 18-inning loss in game two, Washington came back strong to win game three, proving that maybe they still had some life in them.
And with a pitching matchup of Gio Gonzalez and Ryan Vogelsong, many thought that this series was far from over, even though the Giants had to win just one of the next to games to win the series.
But it couldn't have been any closer.
The score was deadlocked at zero after one and a half, but in the bottom of the second the Giants began to threaten. Brandon Crawford hit a one out single, bringing Juan Perez to the plate. Perez hit a grounder right back to the pitcher, which appeared to likely be a double play ball, but Gonzalez let it go right through his legs, putting runners on first and second with nobody out.
Two runs scored that inning, one on a walk with the bases loaded, and another on a groundout to first.
The score remained 2-0 heading into the fifth inning, when Bryce Harper hit an RBI double with nobody out to cut the Giants' deficit in half. Harper was unable to move to third base, let alone score a run.
All series the Nationals missed out on key opportunities to get themselves runs to put up a big lead on the Giants. Had Harper scored, the game would have been tied in the middle innings, not in the late innings when the Nationals did tie it up.
That was pretty much the lesson of this series. The Giants were able to capitalize on all of the Nationals' missed opportunities. And in order to win in the postseason, that is exactly what you need to do.
The Giants did win game four. Ryan Vogelsong was not an easy challenge for Nationals hitters. He went 5.2 innings, allowed just two hits, and one run. He struck out four and walked two. The Giants bullpen handled the rest. They eliminated the top seed in the National League.
The Giants advance to the National League Championship Series, where they take on the Cardinals. This will be a great battle between the two teams that last met in the 2012 NLCS, a seven-game series that the Giants eventually took. Both teams play great fundamental baseball and I'm looking forward to another great series. They both play extremely well in the postseason and are proving that thus far.