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Dodgers/Nationals

The Nationals, with Tanner Roark taking the mound, look to even the series in Game 2 after their Game 1 comeback came up one run short. Rich Hill, previously disabled by blisters, will take the mound for the Dodgers.

Los Angeles Dodgers (Rich Hill) at Washington Nationals (Tanner Roark), 4:00 PM ET

PECOTA odds of winning: 58% Nationals, 42% Dodgers

Projected Starting Lineups

Dodgers vs. Roark (R)

Nationals vs. Hill (L)

Chase Utley (L) 2B

Trea Turner (R) CF

Corey Seager (L) SS

Bryce Harper (L) RF

Justin Turner (R) 3B

Jayson Werth (R) LF

Adrian Gonzalez (L) 1B

Daniel Murphy (L) 2B

Yasmani Grandal (S) C

Anthony Rendon (R) 3B

Josh Reddick (L) RF

Ryan Zimmerman (R) 1B

Andrew Toles (L) LF

Danny Espinosa (S) SS

Joc Pederson (L) CF

Jose Lobaton (S) C

Rich Hill (L) P

Tanner Roark (R) P

Injuries/Availability

With yesterday’s Game 1 being the first game either team had played since last Sunday, all players that were available for Game 1, outside of starting pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer, figure to be available today. Game 1 also saw the healthy return of Murphy for the Nationals and Toles for the Dodgers. Rookie Pedro Severino got the Game 1 start at catcher for Washington, but veteran Jose Lobaton figures to get the Game 2 nod in place of the injured Wilson Ramos.

Outlook

While the starters were the story and what we were salivating over heading into the first game of the series, the hitters and the nature of an unpredictable future did not give us the pitchers’ duel we imagined. Given that the Nationals and Dodgers, respectively, had the third- and fifth-best TAv in baseball this year, the result was not so surprising.

Roark has been great in a bounceback campaign in 2016, after having been bounced from the rotation and then underperforming in the bullpen in 2015. While Roark is sporting his highest K% of his career (20.1 percent), he is also sporting his highest BB% (8.5 percent). His 2.83 ERA significantly outperformed his DRA of 4.45, which was 91st of the 144 pitchers with at least 100 innings.

Rich Hill, plagued by blisters, managed to only pitch 110.1 innings in 2016, including 34.1 innings for the Dodgers after being acquired near the deadline. However limited, Hill has been phenomenal, striking out 29.4 percent of batters with a 2.56 DRA that was fourth out of 144 pitchers with 100-plus innings. We know that PECOTA has a long memory, which will make its forecast more cautious for Hill than I would make mine, which is to say there is reason to think that this game is closer to a of a coin-flip than PECOTA does.

Giants/Cubs

After a brilliant Jon Lester-Johnny Cueto pitchers' duel was determined by one Javier Baez swing, the Cubs and Giants will face off again in Wrigley tonight.

San Francisco Giants (Jeff Samardzija) at Chicago Cubs (Kyle Hendricks), 8:00 PM ET

PECOTA odds of winning: 62% Cubs, 38% Giants

Projected Starting Lineups

Giants vs. Hendricks (R)

Cubs vs. Samardzija (R)

Denard Span (L) CF

Dexter Fowler (S) CF

Brandon Belt (L) 1B

Kris Bryant (R) 3B

Buster Posey (R) C

Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B

Hunter Pence (R) RF

Ben Zobrist (S) 2B

Brandon Crawford (L) SS

Addison Russell (R) SS

Angel Pagan (S) LF

Jason Heyward (L) RF

Joe Panik (L) 2B

Jorge Soler (R) LF

Conor Gillaspie (L) 3B

Willson Contreras (R) C

Jeff Samardzija (R) P

Kyle Hendricks (L) P

Injuries/Availability

Eduardo Nunez, who has been recovering from a hamstring injury that kept him off the Wild Card roster, was used as a pinch-hitter for Belt in the ninth inning against lefty closer Aroldis Chapman. Given that he did not start against Lester (a lefty) and could barely run to first base, my best guess is that he will come off the bench in Game 2 as well.

For the Cubs, Sole has been dealing with tightness in his right side and did not play in Game 1, but that is pretty usual for Lester starts as Joe Maddon has preferred to start Javier Baez for his glove in those games. Baez, last night’s hero, would likely start if Soler cannot go and may very well start anyway (as to whether that would be at second base again or at third with Bryant moving to the outfield instead of Zobrist, I do not know).

Aroldis Chapman was the only reliever to pitch for either side yesterday. He was only needed for three outs; thus, both teams figure to have their full bullpen available.

Outlook

Samardzija, the former Cub (traded with now-Cub Jason Hammel to the Athletics in 2014 for Addison Russell), has pitched better the last two months of the year, a year which has been another disappointing season for a pitcher with his stuff. Meanwhile, Kyle Hendricks and his fastball topping out 89 mph (to go with his excellent sinker, changeup, command, and sequencing) has turned in a legitimate down-ballot Cy Young season.

DRA says that Cubs pitchers get significant help preventing runs from their tremendous defense and that defense figures to be on display again tonight. That same defense is provided by the same players that provide the best offense in the league, which is a nice combination. The Giants, meanwhile, have not been as prolific as the Cubs in the field or at the plate and will have to figure out a way to win a game in which they will likely not receive a dominant pitching performance; in a playoff game where they will most likely need a relief pitcher to record an out for the first time this offseason.