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Cubs announce Game 1 starter and rest of rotation for NLDS vs. Nationals

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Cubs announce Game 1 starter and rest of rotation for NLDS vs. Nationals

The Washington Nationals will be facing off against pitcher Kyle Hendricks in Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Chicago Cubs on Friday.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon made this announcement on Wednesday, along with the rest of the pitching rotation for the series against the Nats.

Although Hendricks missed most of June and July with a hand injury, the right-handed pitcher finished the regular season with a 7-5 record and a 3.03 ERA.

In his last 11 starts with the Cubs, Hendricks has gone 3-2 with a 2.23 ERA. During that span, he's had 64 strikeouts and 19 walks in 682/3 innings.

RELATED: NLDS 2017 PREVIEW: NATIONALS V. CUBS

Looking ahead, lefty Jon Lester will be starting for the Cubs in Game 2 on Saturday. Then Jose Quintana will toe the rubber in Game 3 on Monday. Finally, if necessary, Jake Arrieta will start in Game 4 on Tuesday.

Unlike the Cubs, the Nationals have yet to announce their pitching rotation for the series. With Max Scherzer dealing with a hamstring injury, it is almost certain that Stephen Strasburg will start Game 1 for the Nats. 

The 29-year-old has been dominant since the All-Star break. In September alone, Strasburg compiled 40 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings. He has also gone 4-0 in his five last starts with a .083 ERA. 

RELATED: STRASBURG AND DOOLITTLE CAPTURE MONTHLY NL AWARDS

With Strasburg likely to open the series, either Gio Gonzalez or Scherzer will take over pitching duties in Game 2 on Saturday.

The Nationals are expected to unveil their pitching rotation on Thursday. After that, the announcements will be done, and the baseball will finally get started.

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Bryce Harper thanks Nationals fans for support during 2017 season

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Bryce Harper thanks Nationals fans for support during 2017 season

It's been a week since the air was sucked out of D.C. in the Nationals Game 5, 9-8 loss to the Chicago Cubs. 

And now that we've had a few days to decompress from another early D.C. playoff exit, Nats right fielder Bryce Harper decided to take some time to thank fans for their support this season.

Harper posted an Instagram video Wednesday afternoon, with a fresh cut, and thanked fans for continuing to pack Nats Park. In the video he says he looks forward to "chasing that championship" again next spring. 

The 2017 season could be described as a rough one for Harper after missing the last few weeks of the season with a bone bruise in his left knee. 

Harper had a .319 average during the 2017 season, along with 29 home runs, 97 RBI's, 95 runs scored and 4 stolen bases. He is entering the final year of his contract.

RELATED: 20 THINGS SAD D.C. SPORTS FANS SHOULD BE HAPPY ABOUT

National Fans. Thank you!💯 #RedLightRecording

A post shared by Bryce Harper (@bharper3407) on

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Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

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Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

On Thursday night, a Washington, D.C. pro sports team did something Washington, D.C. pro sports teams are very good at doing: fall short of making a league or championship game.

The Nationals' disastrous fifth inning against the Cubs in Game 5 of the National League Divisional Series was the beginning of the end, not to mention yet another in a long line of disappointing playoff results for Washington, D.C. sports teams.

You see, Washington, D.C. is the only city with at least three major pro sports teams to not have a single one make a conference or league championship game since 2000.

To make matters worse, Washington, D.C. sports teams have now lost 16 consecutive playoff games in which a win would've advanced the team to the conference or league championship. 

Think about that for a second. Four teams. Zero conference championship appearances since 1998. 

Here's the list.

Washington, D.C. sports fans are not greedy. We can't be. We've had some very good teams recently, with the type of talent, coaching and intangibles needed to win a championship. 

TRY THIS: 20 THINGS DC SPORTS FANS SHOULD BE HAPPY ABOUT. YES, HAPPY.

The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team won a world championship was in 1992 when the Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI.  The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team even made a conference championship game was in 1998, when the Capitals advanced to the Eastern Conference Final, defeating the Sabres to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

Washington, D.C. isn't allowed to have nice sports things.

Sure, we have great players and great teams, but when the playoffs roll around, all the nice things go away. We aren't privy to plucky upstarts who run the table and we aren't privy to dominant teams that make long postseason runs.

Washington, D.C. will have its day, eventually. Sure it may only be a conference championship appearance, but for us, that's fine. We don't expect world championships. We just want something to get invested in.

Early playoff exits are rarely worth the investment.