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NLDS Game 1 preview: Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals, Friday 10/6, 6:30 CT

Let the postseason begin!

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Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

You’ve heard quite a bit about these two teams over the past few days and likely don’t need to be hyped up any more than you already are.

In case you do need some hype, check out this quick video from the Cubs:

A couple of notes from the end of the season:

  • The Cubs led the majors with 423 runs scored in 74 games following the All-Star Break, making that the second-most prolific “second half” in franchise history since the All-Star Game began in 1933. The 1935 Cubs scored 487 runs in 82 games after the break.
  • With 822 runs scored this season, the Cubs surpassed 800 runs for the second season in a row (808 runs in 2016) and just the 10th time in their last 118 seasons starting in 1900. The Cubs have reached 800 runs in consecutive campaigns for the first time in more than 85 years, as the Cubs last did so in three-straight seasons from 1929-1931, also the only other occasion in which they scored at least 800 runs in two-straight seasons starting in 1900.

This is an encouraging sign for this team, I think. The Nationals scored 333 runs after the All-Star break this year. That ranked seventh in the National League. The teams were close in runs allowed after the break: Nationals, 276; Cubs, 296.

As we have done here the last two years, Josh will be writing a “Rapid Recap” that will be posted shortly after the game ends, and this will be the case for every postseason game. I’ll have a comprehensive recap of this game Saturday morning at 8 a.m. CT.

Also, there will be no additional thread for the late-night (9:30 p.m. CT) Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks Game 1. Taijuan Walker goes for the D-backs, Clayton Kershaw for the Dodgers. Feel free to use the Cubs game threads or Rapid Recap thread to discuss the L.A/Arizona game.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

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

Nationals lineup:

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

Kyle Hendricks vs. Stephen Strasburg

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

Kyle Hendricks allowed three runs in seven innings to the Nats August 4 at Wrigley Field.

All three of those runs scored via two homers by Daniel Murphy. Murphy is 4-for-15 in his career against Hendricks and all the hits are extra-base hits (three homers, a double). That includes a homer off Hendricks in Game 3 of the 2015 NLCS.

It should be noted that all of those homers were hit at Wrigley, so perhaps pitching against him in Nationals Park will be different. Murphy hit only six home runs at Nationals Park this year, 17 on the road. He had somewhat similar numbers in 2016 (10 HR at home, 15 on the road).

You all know how good Kyle has been in the second half: 2.19 ERA, 1.179 WHIP, only six home runs allowed to players other than Daniel Murphy in 13 starts (78 innings).

Stop Murphy and I think the Cubs have a good chance to win this game.

Stephen Strasburg started against the Cubs June 28 in Washington and threw seven solid innings (three runs, two earned), with 13 strikeouts.

Willson Contreras homered off him that night. That’s significant, as Strasburg allowed just 13 home runs this season and led the major leagues in HR rate (0.7 per nine innings).

Since the All-Star break he’s been pretty much lights-out: 10 starts, 0.86 ERA, 0.814 WHIP, .171 opponents BA. It should be noted, however, that only three of those starts were against teams with winning records (one each vs. the Astros, Dodgers and Diamondbacks.) On the other hand, he didn’t give up an earned run to any of those teams.

So this one will be tough. I expect a pitchers’ duel.

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

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday (classic mode) (Note: Going forward, I am going to link to the “classic” Gameday here because 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.) 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.