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Pre-NLDS-Gamin’: Cubs at Nationals (6:30 CT) – Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

Pre-Gamin'

Well, it all starts tonight.

In just about an hour, the Chicago Cubs will square up against the Washington Nationals and begin the quest to defend their 2016 World Series title. I’m getting more and more used to this whole playoff thing (and I know I said I was feeling calmer than usual earlier), but the nerves are slowly trickling in.


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Starting for the Nationals tonight is right-hander Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg gets the nod in game one, because the Nationals true No. 1 starter, Max Scherzer, is dealing with a sore hamstring. But make no mistake, Strasburg isn’t an easy draw. His numbers this season are excellent (2.52 ERA, 2.72 FIP, 5.6fWAR) and, as we explored earlier, he doesn’t have very exploitable splits.

There’s also the small fact that Strasburg allowed just three earned runs in his last seven starts of the regular season COMBINED. That’s a 0.57 ERA (1.54 FIP) to go along with a 6.11 K/BB ratio. And if all of that wasn’t enough, he’s kept a stellar 53.7% ground ball rate during that stretch, while inducing a 24.3% soft contact rate.

Yeah, it won’t be easy.

But, hey, it won’t be easy for the Nationals either. They’re getting one of the 2016 NL Cy Young finalists, Kyle Hendricks, who also finished this season quite strong. In fact, since July 24th (when he return from the DL), Hendricks kept a tidy 2.19 ERA with an excellent 3.79 K/BB ratio. Better yet, he really did a nice job limiting fly balls (29.0%) and hard contact (25.7%) which bodes well against a slugging team like the Nationals.


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Although the pitching matchups may favor the Nationals slightly, you don’t hate the Cubs chances in this one by any means. In any case, with Scherzer looming somewhere later in the series, the goal for these first two games is to just get one win out of them before heading back to Wrigley. If the Cubs can do that, they’ll be in good shape.

We’re back to playoff baseball, friends, how ready are you?

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (92-69) at Washington Nationals (97-65) – 6:30 CT on TBS, 670 The Score

Game Thread and Series Preview

Your game thread is down in the comments, so let’s have some good, clean (safe-for-work) fun today.

Starting Pitchers

Cubs: Kyle Hendricks (R): 3.03 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 3.76 xFIP; 3.08 K/BB

versus

Nationals: Stephen Strasburg (R): 2.52 ERA, 2.72 FIP, 3.27 xFIP; 4.34 K/BB

Washington Nationals:

  1. Trea Turner, SS
  2. Bryce Harper, RF
  3. Anthony Rendon, 3B
  4. Daniel Murphy, 2B
  5. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
  6. Jayson Werth, LF
  7. Matt Wieters, C
  8. Michael Taylor, CF
  9. Stephen Strasburg, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup:

  1. Ben Zobrist, RF
  2. Kris Bryant, 3B
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Willson Contreras, C
  5. Kyle Schwarber, LF
  6. Addison Russell, SS
  7. Jason Heyward, CF
  8. Javy Baez, 2B
  9. Kyle Hendricks, P

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Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @Michael_Cerami.