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NLDS Game 3 preview: Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals, Monday 10/9, 3 p.m. CT

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The Cubs look to take a two games to one lead in the series.

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Honestly, I don’t think I can tell you anything here that you don’t already know. You know what’s at stake here and what this team has to do in order to win this series and move on to the next round. A few thoughts about this afternoon’s pitchers are below.

Though this game time might be inconvenient to some, I kind of like having an afternoon game in the postseason. It’s a throwback of sorts to earlier times when all postseason games were played during the daytime. I completely understand why most fans (and TV networks) want games to be played in the evening. A bit of nostalgia isn’t terrible, though, I think.

One thing I can tell you about today: The weather’s going to be perfect for early October, sunny, light winds, temperatures in the low 70s.

Site note: Even though this is a day game, in order for you to have a quick recap to comment on, Josh will still write a Rapid Recap that will post shortly after the game ends. I’ll have the usual complete recap Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. CT.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

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

Nationals lineup:

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

Jose Quintana vs. Max Scherzer

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Jose Quintana has never faced the Nationals. That alone could be an advantage, as the Nats must rely on scouting reports rather than personal experience.

Jose Quintana has never pitched in a postseason game. However, he seems like the kind of pitcher that this fact wouldn’t matter — nothing much seems to bother him, he always approaches his starts professionally.

Quintana in September: 2.51 ERA, 0.959 WHIP, just four walks and 36 strikeouts in 32⅓ innings. That included a magnificent three-hit, 10-strikeout complete-game shutout of the Brewers on September 24.

The righthanded Quintana did better against lefthanded batters this year:

vs. RHB: .242/.318/.415
vs. LHB: .222/.258/.327

And he allowed only one home run to a lefthanded hitter all year, oddly enough, to former Cub Dexter Fowler on September 17, the last home run hit off Q during the regular season.

I feel very good about Quintana starting this game.

Max Scherzer left his last regular-season start with what was described as a hamstring “tweak.” That was 10 days ago, and the Nationals at first said it wouldn’t be a big deal, but wound up pushing Scherzer back to this game, when ordinarily he’d have been the choice to start Game 1 of a postseason series.

So here we are. Is Scherzer 100 percent? Maybe. And if he is, he’s certainly one of the best pitchers in baseball and is a strong candidate for his second straight Cy Young Award.

However.

Scherzer’s last five starts (including the “tweak” game in which he allowed no runs in 3⅓ innings: 4.45 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 12 walks. That’s 22 percent of his season walk total in 14 percent of his season innings. Was he wearing down late in the year?

Also, the last time Scherzer faced the Cubs at Wrigley Field, May 6, 2016, they torched him for seven runs in five innings, including four home runs (Tommy La Stella, Anthony Rizzo, and two by Ben Zobrist).

Perhaps that can be arranged again, Mr. Scherzer.

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

Please visit our SB Nation Nationals site Federal Baseball. If you do go there to interact with Nationals fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

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.