Gonzalez Game 2, Scherzer Game 3 for Nats; Harper bats 2nd

Lester Mason
October 8, 2017

"You can't give extra outs", Cubs manager Joe Maddon said after the game. This season, it was a bit hard to decide as their staff would be very streaky as well as injuries became a factor. Jake Arrieta is also dealing with a hamstring issue and has been relegated to the third game of the series while Jon Lester has been dealing with shoulder fatigue.

Yet when their best-of-five NL Division Series opens Friday night, with Stephen Strasburg starting for host Washington against Kyle Hendricks, the Nationals will be seeking to advance past a round for the first time since moving from Montreal in 2005.

Only four years later, Kyle Hendricks has gone from an intriguing prospect to a Game 7 World Series starter and now a Game 1 starter in the National League Division Series.

The Dodgers didn't cruise to a Game 1 victory like the Cubs did on Friday night, but they were able to comfortably seal the win in the closing stages of the contest. The veteran lefty-he turned 32 in September-is coming off his best season since 2012 as the owner of a 2.96 ERA and 188 strikeouts in 201 innings, but his peripherals suggest a fair amount of smoke and mirrors-namely a low batting average on balls in play and a sky-high stranded runners rate.

Hendricks faced the Nats in early August but didn't win. He allowed two to reach base on singles and three to get on with walks. During his last four regular season starts, Gio Gonzalez amassed a groan-inducing 6.75 ERA. Jon Lester's struggles to throw over to first base have made him too much of a liability to give him the starting job. Lester goes into the playoffs as one of the most experienced playoff starter (besides John Lackey) but isn't taking this move as a dis. Baker said either Scherzer or Gonzalez would get Game 2, and the other Game 3.

"It's a cool thing for [Hendricks]".

"I'm happy for him because this is kind of that next step". Early on, Gonzalez was focused and on point, his tempo appeared to be faster than in season's past and he didn't get bogged down by tough situations.

Lester (13-8, 4.33 ERA) had some hiccups throughout the season.

To make matters worse the Nationals suspended assistant hitting coach Jacque Jones for legal issues just before the game. To date, he's pitched in just over 133 postseason innings and holds a commanding 2.63 ERA, along with a 9-7 record.

It's their first meeting in the postseason. He is among the most anonymous players on the star-studded Chicago Cubs. Game 3 at Wrigley Field will see the postseason debut of Jose Quintana, who came over from the White Sox in mid-July.

This will be the third straight postseason appearance for the North Siders.

Game Two is Saturday at 4:38 p.m.

Scherzer plans to test his leg in a bullpen session Wednesday. He took the loss after lasting only four innings, giving six hits, six runs (five runs), and whopping six walks with four strikeouts.

Unlike most game ones, both teams will not be using the number one pitcher in their rotations. He still has yet to decide whether to carry 11 or 12 pitchers for this series. They were challenged by an upstart and even younger Brewers team right into the final month and were as under-the-radar as the first Cubs team to be defending a World Series title in 108 years possibly could be.

"But to get this nod for Game 1, just t try to set the tone for the team is huge".

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