The Chicago Cubs gave Jake Arrieta a few extra days to rest his tender hamstring, and now he’s in a position to help get the team back to the National League Championship Series. Arrieta gets the ball in Game 4 of the NL Division Series on Tuesday as the Cubs look to close out the visiting Washington Nationals.
Anthony Rizzo’s bloop single in the eighth inning plated the go-ahead run Monday as the Cubs posted a 2-1 victory in Game 3 to regain the series lead. Arrieta can close it out as he makes his first start since Sept. 26, and the 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner says his nagging right hamstring injury is a “non-issue.” He hopes to follow the rest of Chicago's starting rotation, which has allowed two runs - one earned - in 18 2/3 innings over the first three games of the series. Tanner Roark, who grew up about an hour’s drive from Wrigley Field, makes the start for the Nationals as they trail in the series despite permitting only eight runs.
TV: 5:30 p.m. ET, TBS
PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Tanner Roark (13-11, 4.67 ERA) vs. Cubs RH Jake Arrieta (14-10, 3.53)
Roark made two relief appearances in the 2014 NLDS and received his first postseason start in last year’s NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, allowing two runs and seven hits over 4 1/3 innings in a no-decision. The 31-year-old had a solid second half but finished the regular season on a sour note, losing his last two turns before giving up two runs in one inning of relief on Oct. 1. Roark is 4-2 with a 4.06 ERA in seven career games (six starts) against the Cubs.
Arrieta is 4-2 with a 3.64 ERA in seven starts over the last two postseasons, including a pair of wins in last year’s World Series. The 31-year-old has been outstanding at home throughout his tenure with the Cubs, going 30-14 with a 2.31 ERA in 59 outings. He hasn’t fared as well against the Nationals, however, as he owns a 1-2 record and 5.48 ERA in nine career meetings.
1. Rizzo has hit safely in nine straight postseason games, going 13-for-33 during the streak.
2. Washington 1B Ryan Zimmerman has driven in four of the Nationals’ seven runs in the series.
3. Cubs RHP Wade Davis improved to 6-for-6 in save opportunities in the postseason with Monday’s save and has posted a 0.79 ERA in 25 career playoff games.
PREDICTION: Cubs 4, Nationals 3