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NLDS Game 4 preview: Cubs vs. Nationals, Wednesday 10/11, 3 p.m. CT

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Let’s try this again!

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Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

I could have filled up this section of the preview with mold jokes, but you've probably had your fill of them by now.

Whether what we heard about Stephen Strasburg was true, or an attempt at gamesmanship by Dusty Baker, we'll likely never know. In any case, we've waited long enough for this game. Let's play ball!

One note left over from Monday’s Game 3: The Cubs became the third team to win a postseason game after they were no-hit through at least six innings. Others: Dodgers over Yankees, 1947 World Series Game 4 and Athletics over Orioles, 1974 ALCS Game 4. In both those cases, the winning team had just one hit.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Jay CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Contreras C, Zobrist LF, Russell SS, Heyward RF, Baez 2B, Arrieta P

Nationals lineup:

Turner SS, Werth LF, Harper RF, Zimmerman 1B, Murphy 2B, Rendon 3B, Wieters C, Taylor CF, Strasburg P

Jake Arrieta vs. Stephen Strasburg

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Arrieta has pitched just twice since he hurt his hamstring in Pittsburgh September 4. The first was a pretty good five-inning outing in Milwaukee September 21 — one run allowed, a homer by Domingo Santana. Then he had a rough outing in a potential clinching game in St. Louis September 26, three innings, five runs (three earned), 67 pitches.

After that one it was announced that Jake would skip his final regular-season start, which would have been the last day of the season.

So he hasn’t thrown in game action in 15 days. He, and the team, say that he’s 100 percent, and hopefully the two extra weeks off got his hamstring back healthy again, because Jake was on a second-half run that was excellent. July and August combined: 11 starts, 1.69 ERA, 0.952 WHIP.

His one start against the Nats this year? Well, you probably don’t want to look at the boxscore, because it was pretty ugly, his second-worst start of the year by Game Score. That was in Washington, and Jake’s been better at Wrigley this year by a fairly significant margin. Hopefully that holds up today.

Stephen Strasburg no-hit the Cubs in Game 1 into the sixth inning, when an error by Anthony Rendon and two singles gave the Cubs the lead, and eventually the win behind Kyle Hendricks and solid relief work.

We don't know if all the stories about Strasburg being “under the weather” are true or not, or what his physical condition is. If the Nats were doing that for gamesmanship, it didn't really work.

Strasburg was good both at home and on the road this year, but he has not faced the Cubs at Wrigley Field since August 22, 2013. Go look at that link, you will be amused to see who hit a game tying HR off him in the bottom of the ninth with two out. Not relevant to today, just funny.

With cool temperatures and the wind blowing in, this should be a good day for pitchers. If Jake is on his game, this could be quite the pitchers’ duel.

Today’s game is on TBS. Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Ron Darling, Sam Ryan.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday (classic mode) (Note: Going forward, I am going to link to the “classic” Gameday here because MLB.com broke the links I used to use to get to their “new” Gameday. If you click on this link, you can then click on “New Gameday” at the bottom of the page to get to the updated version. Note that the “classic” Gameday won’t load until just before game time.)

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

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The 2017 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2016. Here's how it works.

You'll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).

At the same time, a StoryStream containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.

You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in the game's StoryStream as noted above.

The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.

Get tickets to Cubs games from our partner StubHub here.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Poll

Who has the better beard?

This poll is closed

  • 96%
    Jake Arrieta
    (333 votes)
  • 3%
    Stephen Strasburg
    (11 votes)
344 votes total Vote Now