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NLDS Game 4 of Nats-Cubs rained out

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NLDS Game 4 of Nats-Cubs rained out

CHICAGO -- Game 4 of the NL Division Series was postponed by rain on Tuesday, giving Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta another day to rest his troublesome right hamstring and putting ace Stephen Strasburg in play for the Washington Nationals.

The Cubs and Nationals took batting practice and the grounds crew got the field ready before bringing out the tarp. The rain started to fall about a half-hour after the game was supposed to start at Wrigley Field. With more showers in the forecast, Major League Baseball then called it off.

Chicago leads 2-1 in the best-of-five series going into Game 4, now scheduled for Wednesday at 4:08 p.m. EDT. There is rain in the forecast for early in the day.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon said the World Series champions will stay with Arrieta. Nationals manager Dusty Baker left open the possibility of using Strasburg, who started the opener, instead of Tanner Roark.

If the Nationals win Wednesday, Game 5 would be Thursday in Washington. The winner of the NLDS takes on the Dodgers in the next round, scheduled to begin Saturday in Los Angeles.

Chicago won 2-1 at home Monday.

Arrieta has pitched just 10 1/3 innings since Aug. 30. The 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner hurt his right hamstring during a loss at Pittsburgh on Sept. 4. He returned late last month and made a couple starts down the stretch, but lasted just three innings in a loss at St. Louis on Sept. 26.

The Cubs skipped Arrieta's last turn in the rotation in the regular season and then pushed him back to Game 4 for the playoffs, giving the right-hander ample time to rest.

"Jake's really primed for this opportunity," Maddon said Tuesday. "He's done a great job of rehabbing his leg. He feels very good arm- and leg-wise right now. I'm real eager to watch him play."

The 31-year-old Arrieta was a key factor in Chicago's turnaround in the last part of the season, going 6-3 with a 2.28 ERA in his final 12 outings. Arrieta, who is eligible for free agency after the season, could be making his last start in a Cubs uniform.

"These next few days are going to be extremely special, and if we're fortunate enough to get past these guys, like I feel we are, I'm going to do everything I can to enjoy the last few weeks," Arrieta said Monday.

Roark is from Wilmington, Illinois, about 60 miles south of Chicago, and grew up rooting for the Cubs. Baker praised Roark's "warrior mentality" this week, but he was non-committal when asked before Tuesday's rainout if he might go with Strasburg if the game was postponed.

"As of right now, you know, Tanner is pitching today, and so we'll make that determination if and only when the game is called," he said.

With Max Scherzer nursing his own right hamstring injury, Strasburg got the ball in Game 1 and turned in a dominant performance Friday night. The right-hander was working on a no-hitter before Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo hit consecutive RBI singles with two outs in the sixth inning.

Strasburg struck out 10 in seven innings and was charged with two unearned runs and three hits in Washington's 3-0 loss. Going back to the regular season, he is 5-2 with a microscopic 0.74 ERA and 73 Ks in 60 2/3 innings over his last nine starts.

The biggest winner of Tuesday's rainout is the Dodgers, who eliminated Arizona with a 3-1 victory in Game 3 of their NLDS on Monday night. If the NLDS between the Nationals and Cubs goes the distance, the winner will have to play four times in five days.

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Max Scherzer Giving Away Memorabilia For Good Cause

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Max Scherzer Giving Away Memorabilia For Good Cause

By Ryan Wormeli

Max Scherzer is the ace of the Nationals staff, a fan favorite, and the 2017 National League Cy Young award winner. He's also a soon-to-be father whose wife, Erica May-Scherzer, once accidentally threw out the jersey he wore when throwing his 2nd career no-hitter. This time around, I'm guessing they talked it over first before deciding to sell some of his memorabilia garage-style for a new fundraiser.

We don't have any more information about the fundraiser yet, but May-Scherzer posted some photos on Twitter this afternoon. 

And in case you're wondering, no, the Scherzer family cat featured in one of the pictures isn't for sale (we assume). Plus, even if they were willing to part with their cat, considering Scherzer is on a contract worth over $200 Million, their price would probably be pretty steep. How much would you pay to adopt the cat of a 3-time Cy Young winner?

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Why Bryce Harper would be a bargain at $500 million

Why Bryce Harper would be a bargain at $500 million

$500 million.

That number is so hard to wrap your brain around, but it's a number a lot of professional baseball players may soon start seeing on their contracts.

One player who could be the first to see that amount within the next year is Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper.

Harper will become a free agent in 2018 and people are already projecting his market value at close to $500 million, if not more.

Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton signed a contract back in 2014 for 13 years, $325 million, holding the league record.

For Fancy Stats writer Neil Greenberg, $500 million is a bargain for someone of Harper's caliber.

"Harper is every bit as good [as Stanton] but he's also young," Greenberg told the Sports Junkies Friday.

"I mean, we don't see a player that's as good as Harper, that's as young a Harper, hit the market almost ever I want to say. You look at how many years of his prime he has left and then even if you start to give him just the typical aging curb off of that prime, he's probably worth close to 570 million dollars starting from 2019 and going forward ten years. And that includes also the price of free agency going up and other factors."

Harper, who is only 25 years-old, brings more to a team than just talent. He's one of the most recognizable figures in baseball, bringing tremendous marketing opportunities to an organization. Greenberg dove deeper into how that will increase his market value.

"And that's just for the on-the-field product. You talk about all the marketing that's done around Bryce Harper [and] what he does for the game. In my opinion, and based on the numbers that I saw, he's a bargain at $500 million."

Don't we all wish someone would say $500 million is a bargain for us?

After crunching the numbers, the biggest takeaway for Greenberg is the return on investment the Nationals have gotten out of Harper.

"Like if you look at his wins above replacement throughout his career, he's given you 200 million dollars in value for 21 million dollars in cash and he's due what another 26 or 27 million this year. I mean he's already given you an amazing return on investment."

"So, if you're the Nationals having - benefited from that - you know you have a little bit of, I guess, wiggle room in terms of maybe you're paying a little bit for past performance 'cause, you know, when a player is on arbitration in their early years they don't really get paid that much."

The Nationals still have Harper for one more season and many feel they need to make him an offer sooner than later. Whenever and whoever he gets an offer from, it's going to be a nice pay day for him.