Chicago Cubs: What a potential Wild Card match up could look like

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs are beginning to slip in the division, and it’s looking more and more like the team will be back in the one-and-done extravaganza of the wild card game. What could the team be up against to decide their fate?

After 2018, the Chicago Cubs were hoping to lock up the division after blowing a lead and losing game 163 to the Brewers. Things haven’t gone as planned. And now the rival Cardinals are beginning to pull away in the Central, forcing the Cubs to consider the possibility of another one-and-done game.

Last year, the team chose to ride or die with the veteran Jon Lester on the mound against the Rockies. But his recent struggles make it likely that another arm will take his place. Kyle Hendricks seems like the most obvious choice given his success this year, but there are some other things to consider.

Currently, the most likely opponent the Cubs would face off against is the Washington Nationals. The Nats now hold the top Wild Card spot by three games, meaning the Cubs would be away from Wrigley Field: already a bad sign.

Hendricks suffers considerably away from the Friendly Confines, recording a 4.76 ERA and a 1.412 WHIP away from home. Against the Nationals this year, he holds an even worse 6.35 ERA, but this is over an admittedly small sample size of 5 2/3 innings.

For the Nationals, they’d likely run perennial Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer in the one-game playoff. Scherzer has been his typical self this year, pitching to a 2.41 ERA with a league-leading 2.19 FIP and 12.5 strikeouts per nine innings.

The last time these two teams met up in the postseason, the Cubs narrowly squeaked past the Nats in the NLDS in seven games. Though several players have come and gone from each team, many of the key assets remain, offering a similar match up.

If this is indeed how the wild card shakes out, the key for victory for the Cubs will be getting to Washington’s shaky bullpen as quickly as possible. This won’t be easy with Scherzer on the mound, but it’s their best bet at breaking a game open.

Next. A look at the Cubs potential playoff starting rotation.. dark

There’s still a while for things to change for the Chicago Cubs to move up in the standings. But this matchup seems increasingly likely. The Nationals with Scherzer will be a massive hill to climb, but it’s certainly possible if they stay disciplined and take advantage of the Nats greatest weakness.