Washington Nationals: NLDS Game 4 a must win

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
1 of 4

The 2017 Washington Nationals season comes down to one game on the road. Here is what to watch for as the Nats try to force a Game 5.

The situation you dreaded all year has come to pass as the Washington Nationals face elimination Tuesday afternoon.

Down two games to one, the next win by the Chicago Cubs in the National League Divisional Series earns them a rematch versus the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Championship Series. The Nats must win the next two or the season is done.

A complete lack of ability to produce runs is the reason Washington sits on the brink. With seven runs over three games and an anemic .121 batting average, the Nats are in serious trouble.

But, they are not dead yet. A win at gloomy Wrigley Field early Tuesday night sends this series back to Washington for a decisive Game 5. The pitching has kept the Nats within a shout. For all the offensive issues with DC, the Cubs have won two games by scoring a single run more. The series tally is eight for Chicago and seven for Washington.

Tanner Roark has the chance to right the ship in his home state. The Illinois native earns the burden of saving the Nats season. Former Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta and his balky hamstring gets his lone start of the series for the Cubs.

Whatever happens, Tuesday will be full of angst and heartburn. After seven months of guaranteed tomorrows, this might be it. If there is a Game 5, the Nats must forget their playoff past and produce. Here are the three stories to watch as Washington fights survival.