The Nationals' quest for the 2017 World Series championship begins on Friday when they take on the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs in the 2017 National League Divisional Series.
This marks the Nationals' fourth trip to the postseason since moving to the nation's capital over a decade ago, and the team is still looking for its first trip to the NLCS.
In order to do so, they will have to defeat one of baseball's best rosters, led by one of baseball's best managers in Joe Maddon.
Can the Nationals bullpen dominate in October like it did in September? Will the Nationals bats heat up like the first half of the season? How healthy will Bryce Harper be?
These are all questions that will be answered beginning on Friday.
But with the series still in front of us, we took the pulse of the NBC Sports Washington newsroom to see what people are thinking.
So here it is, NBC Sports Washington's 2017 NLDS Nationals-Cubs predictions.
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NLDS 2017: Nationals vs. Cubs Predictions
— Smokin' Al Koken (@RealSmokinAL): Assuming Scherzer is Scherzer for at least one start , I think the Nat’s combination of pitching and power will prevail . Fully understanding regular season results usually mean nothing once the playoffs begin, I do believe the Nats success in their August series at Wrigley will give the team a good vibe when they return to the ivy . And my series under the radar , X-factor hero will be Howie Kendrick . Nats in 5, beginning another 108 year championship drought for the cubbies. Prediction: Nationals in 5.
— Joe Beninati (@JoeBpxp): I know this may sound familiar to DC sports fans, but I was hoping for a different NLDS matchup! Then again, I like seeing the would-be champions defeat the reigning champions somewhere along the road ... might as well be right off the bat! I am confident that the Nationals have the arms to get the job done, and this fall their bats will behave better. Prediction: Nationals in 4.
— Rob Carlin (@RobCarlinNBCS) While the Nats finally addressed their biggest issue over the years by shoring up their bullpen, I’m still a “show me” type of guy. I can’t trust those guys under the lights of the postseason until I see it. For the first time in 100 years, we can say the Cubs have been there and done that. Add in Max Scherzer's injury & the fact Bryce Harper hasn’t played much the last few months, and I fear another early playoff exit in DC. PREDICTION: Cubs in 4.
— Julie Donaldson (@JDonaldsonNBCS): With the Nationals healthy (fingers crossed), Dusty Baker gets closer to his first ring against his former team. Prediction: Nationals in 5.
— Tarik El-Bashir (@TarikNBCS): I’ve been saying for a couple of months now that the Nats, when at full strength, are the best team in baseball. They’ve got the offense. They're great in the field. And their one question mark — the bullpen — was shored up at the deadline. Bring it home, boys! Prediction: Nationals in 5.
— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS): This is it. This is the year. No, not necessarily the World Series, but at least getting past the division series. Scherzer and Strasburg will be too much in a five-game series. But the bats need to show up. Prediction: Nationals in 4.
— Chick Hernandez (@ChickAtNBCS): With Bryce Harper back in the lineup. the Nats get fresh legs and add depth to the middle of the lineup. The 1-2 punch of Strasburg & Scherzer — in whatever order — will have them steamrolling through the first series. Prediction: Nationals in 5.
— Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughesNBCS): The Nationals' lineup is stacked, and their pitching staff may be the best they've ever had, but after the All-Star break the Cubs scored more runs than anybody and had the best record in the NL. It's just a tough draw for the Nats. Prediction: Cubs in 5.
— Craig Laughlin (@Laughlin18): Here is my prediction. Blue Jays win it all!!! I have a great feeling about the Nats this season! They are ready to take the next step to win it all for our city. Will Bryce and Max be themselves ? If so, the pitching should be the difference. Predicton: Nationals in 5.
— Michael Jenkins (@JenksNBCS): The Nationals finally pull it together and advance to the NLCS thanks to a stellar starting rotation and a bullpen that holds up just enough. Prediction: Nationals in 5.
— Troy Machir (@TroyMachir): The nation's capital does not do playoff sports very well, at least not recently. Will it change this year? It has to. The Cubs just got their world championship. Time for them to wait another 100 years. Seriously. I can't deal with anymore disappointment. Prediction: Nationals in 5.
— Grant Paulsen (@GranthPaulsen): The Nationals have two ace-caliber starters, a revamped bullpen with three quality late-inning arms and one of the best lineups in baseball. Mike Rizzo has built a championship club and it will finally pay off with an NLCS appearances. Prediction: Nationals in 4.
— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS): Sure, I’m a little worried about Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer. Actually, you add those up and that’s a lot of worry. But even if they aren’t at the top of their games, there is still Stras, Gio, Rendon, Zimm, Murphy, and the rest. I look for Michael Taylor to play a big role in the Nationals’—yes, I’m going to say it—sweep of the Cubs. Prediction: Nationals in 3.