MLB NLDS: Chicago Cubs @ Washington Nationals, Preview, Pick

Washington finished with 97 wins, five ahead of Chicago’s 92. Washington basically had no competition for the division crown, but they still took care of business and had another impressive season. Meanwhile, Chicago had to fight off Milwaukee and St. Louis in the last week to wrap up their division. This series features two teams with the same expectations but different stories.

Natitude is back!

MLB NLDSThe time is now for Washington. The Nationals are back in the postseason and have not had postseason success in prior years. This team this year is more than capable of turning the corner and making a deep run. Expectations are high, and there will be pressure on them to finally break through. Washington has a stacked roster. On the mound, it will be Stephen Strasburg in Game 1, followed by Gio Gonzalez and Max Scherzer. All three of these guys have been dominant this year, and they all have the ability to go 6, 7, or even 8 innings. Washington’s lineup is deep, consisting of Zimmerman, Murphy, Rendon, and now a healthy Bryce Harper. Harper gave everyone a scare when he injured his knee running to first base. Luckily he was able to rehab and get a few games in before the playoffs started. One guy who isn’t talked about as much is Trea Turner. Turner brings some speed and pop in that leadoff spot and knows how to set the tone for an inning. This team is more than capable of making a deep run this year, however, they have no easy task against the defending champs.

Can the Cubs do it again?

MLB NLDSFor the first time since 1909, The Chicago Cubs are defending World Series champs. After winning it all last year, expectations were sky high for Chicago this year. They were expected to run away with the division and not look back. Well, that is not at all how it happened, as they spent the year battling with Milwaukee and St. Louis, all staying within a couple games. However, Chicago played well down the stretch to secure their spot, and taking them lightly would be a huge mistake. I do believe that more pressure should be on Washington, but I think Chicago still feels like they have something to prove, and they’re going to do whatever it takes to repeat. Chicago has a balanced rotation, Hendricks will get the ball in Game 1, followed by Jon Lester and then deadline acquisition Jose Quintana. Chicago also has Jake Arrieta ready to go, so they do not appear to be worried in terms of starting pitching depth. As far as their lineup goes, Manager Joe Maddon has moved guys around in the lineup all year. We know their heart and soul consists of Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant, “Bryzzo”. Chicago has solid depth bats such as Wilson Contreras, Ben Zobrist, and Jason Heyward. Of course, I didn’t forget about the dynamic duo up the middle of the field with Javy Baez and Addison Russell. Chicago returned pretty much their whole team from last year and these guys know what it takes to win, and that could give them a big edge.

Live In The Stands Pick: Cubs vs Nationals 

It’ll be very important for Washington to set the tone in their home ballpark to start this series. I don’t think that Chicago will be phased by having to start on the road, in fact, I think they’ll thrive off it. If Chicago gets off to a hot start, I’ll be watching to see how Washington deals with a little adversity. There is no doubt the Cubs will get some big hits, and it’ll be how Washington deals with the adversity that determines how this series will go. I’m going with the defending champion Chicago Cubs in 5, 3-2.


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