Octubre 24, 2020

Playoff predictions: Nationals look solid, but doubts linger

05 Octubre 2017, 02:41 | Cornelio Vivanco

"The first and foremost thing is just making sure that whenever I do take the ball, I'm able to go out there and compete the way I'm able to compete", Scherzer said. There's a unusual calm over me as Friday's first game approaches.

This is, actually, serious stuff. He is the author of 22 sports books for kids, including nine baseball books.

Whether his appearance comes in Game 1, Game 2 or a later game remains to be seen, but the confident display has to be reassuring for Nationals fans. Their explosive lineup that includes stars like Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon, and Trea Turner led nearly every offensive statistical category in the National League carrying their team to the playoffs. "This is the time of year that you want to be playing and we're ready for it". Too harrowing. Too risky. He enters these playoffs on quite a streak: 5-1 with 0.84 ERA over last eight regular-season starts. The victor of that game will advance to face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS.

It is a postseason bracket with a number of powerhouses and littered with former Detroit Tigers players, more than a few of whom were wearing the Old English D just a few months ago. The Nats are good and this year they know it. Today, the announced their rotation for the first round games against the Washington Nationals. The winner of the NLDS series advances to play the victor of the Los Angeles Dodgers and NL wild card winner in the National League Championship series. But they do face the layoff, and they must figure out how to handle it. In addition, Cubs digital reporter and producer Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) will also provide Cubs reports/features on the beat with Mooney for every NLDS game. But it's a factor that they haven't handled particularly well in the past.

Three times the Nationals have entered the playoffs, and three times they have failed to advance. Lester started the opener in each of Chicago's three playoff series past year, but he missed part of August with tightness in his left lat and general shoulder fatigue and struggled down the stretch before finishing strong. To help them achieve this goal, the line-up of the team is found to be one of the best in the league and one of the better rosters the team has ever had.

If Scherzer is pushed back to Game 3, that means he can start just once in the series. But the Cubs didn't sputter to the finish, going 13-4 down the stretch, putting further behind their (inexplicably) slow start.

Luck: A five-game series is usually close, and one play can make a big difference. Washington finished with their second straight division title at 97-65 and with the best offense in the entire National League. Yes, Baker often using patched-together lineups, trying to balance the need for rest with the need to remain sharp. Yet it can fester.

Notes: The Cubs claimed right-hander Luke Farrell off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday to provide starting depth. In order to do that, he would have needed to throw off the bullpen mound today at the latest. He says he'll pitch this series, but if it's already bumped back there is clear reason to believe he might not be at his best. Here is how the Cubs can avoid that fifth game: win it in four.

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