Washington Nationals: 5 x-factors in NLDS vs. Cubs

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WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 26: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals and Anthony Rizzo #44 of the Chicago Cubs talk during their game at Nationals Park on June 26, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 26: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals and Anthony Rizzo #44 of the Chicago Cubs talk during their game at Nationals Park on June 26, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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Jake Arrieta

Pitching and defense win games in the postseason, and the Cubs have a great pitching staff, but a key member is currently pitching at less than full strength. Jake Arrieta has been dealing with a hamstring issue for much of the second half, which has certainly affected him.

Arrieta pitched to a 6.10 ERA in three starts in September, including allowing five runs in three innings in his final start of the season. Because of his hamstring issue, he has been pushed back to pitch game four, if necessary.

When on, Arrieta is an elite starter. However, he has struggled at times due to various injuries and ailments.

Over the past few seasons, Arrieta has thrown the most innings in the majors and the second-most isn’t even close. This overuse has caused a bit of fatigue, which has led to struggles. Between the overuse and his hamstring issue, he has shown a tendency to be somewhat erratic at times.

If Arrieta is pitching in this series, it means that one team is a win away from winning the series and the other team is trying to force a game five. How Arrieta performs will be very interesting and could have an enormous impact on the outcome of the series.

If Arrieta continues to perform like he did in September, it could turn out to be a dagger to the Cubs’ season.

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