CHICAGO -- The Nationals and Cubs spent Tuesday at Wrigley Field wondering whether they would play Game 4 of their best-of-five series. After a lot of rain and a lot of waiting, they'll finally get that chance today.
Despite getting outstanding efforts from both Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer against the Cubs, the Nationals find themselves facing a two-games-to-one deficit in the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile, their backs against the wall and their season on the line. The Cubs will be attempting to reach their third straight National League Championship Series and set off another raucous celebration at the Friendly Confines.
"You're playing the most important games of the year; you want to play in better weather," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said after a terrible forecast forced the postponement. "Whatever it is, you've just got to get ready and go ahead and do it. There is no crying. You just go play."
First pitch today is slated for 4 p.m. ET/3 p.m. CT on TBS.
The Nationals will try to stave off elimination and force a decisive Game 5 on Thursday in Washington. Both teams have an identical 2.08 ERA in the series, but the Cubs have come up with the timely hits in Games 1 and 3.
"We've won two games in a row before; it's not a record," Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. "It's not an ideal situation to be in; obviously, I'd rather be up 2-1. It's playoff baseball. We'll come back out tomorrow, play a game, hopefully come out on top and go home and have an exciting Game 5."
As a team, the Nationals are slashing .121/.200/.231, while the Cubs have a slightly better .179/.274/.298 line.
Scherzer carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning Monday night, but the Cubs answered with runs in the seventh and eighth to escape with a 2-1 victory in front of a raucous home crowd. Wrigley Field was alive and rocking, immediately evoking memories of last year's remarkable run.
The Cubs know that taking care of business sooner than later is important in October. Momentum can swing in crazy ways, much as it did in last year's World Series, when they overcame a 3-1 deficit against the Indians.
"I wouldn't use the word urgency," Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant said. "One game at a time, all that stuff, I still believe in that. I believe everybody here believes in that. We've got a good manager leading the way. It is nice to get the first win at home and use home-field advantage to your advantage. It would be nice [to clinch]. I can't wait to see Jake out there tomorrow. We know what he does in the postseason. It's going to be fun."
Jake Arrieta will make his eighth career postseason start, looking to lower his 3.64 ERA in those games. A free agent after the season, Arrieta hopes to help the Cubs extend this playoff run as long as possible, but he said Monday that he's making sure to soak it all in, just in case this winds up being his final start for Chicago.
"Just trying to take everything in, look around a little bit more," Arrieta said. "Trying to kind of capture some mental images of Wrigley and the fan base and my teammates, and just to try and remember as much as I can about these last couple weeks if it's my last time in this uniform."
Arrieta's opponent will be Strasburg. Tanner Roark was initially scheduled to start Game 4 on Tuesday. Then, with the game moved to Wednesday, most assumed Strasburg -- now on regular rest -- would take his place. However, manager Dusty Baker initially said Strasburg had been "feeling under the weather" and that the Nationals would stick with Roark in Game 4. Now, Strasburg will pitch.
The Cubs might not use the word urgency as they look to move on to the NLCS, but the Nationals are facing a must-win game if they hope to extend their season at least one more game.
"It's going to be fun," Bryce Harper said. "I'm looking forward to it. I think everyone on our team is, too. Like Zim said, we've won two before. We've faced elimination before as well. I look forward to going out there."
Things to know for this game:
• In Division Series history, teams that take a 2-1 lead have advanced to the League Championship in 44 of 60 series.
• Washington second baseman Daniel Murphy is 6-for-19 (.316) in his career vs. Arrieta, including playoffs. He homered against Arrieta in Game 2 of the 2015 NL Championship Series, a 4-1 Cubs' loss.
• Scherzer and Strasburg have put together the two longest playoff no-hit bids against the Cubs in Chicago franchise history. Strasburg held the Cubs without a hit for 5 2/3 innings in Friday's Game 1, while Scherzer did it for 6 1/3 frames in Monday's Game 3. Chicago ended up winning both contests.
• Anthony Rizzo, who drove in the game-winning run in the eighth inning Monday, is batting .392 (20-for-51) with 10 extra-base hits, 15 RBIs and 11 runs scored in his last 13 playoff games.
Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.