It would be accurate to say the Cubs and Washington Nationals are both hamstrung when it comes to the starting rotation.
Heading into the stretch run, Jake Arrieta looked like the Cubs' best starter, and Max Scherzer was No. 1 with the Nats.
As both clubs prepare for Game 1 of the National League division series Friday night at Nationals Park, Arrieta and Scherzer will be watching from the dugout while nursing hamstring injuries.
Arrieta looks like he'll be ready for a potential Game 4, and Scherzer should be good to go in Game 3.
That leaves Kyle Hendricks as the Cubs' Game 1 starter. He'll oppose Washington's Stephen Strasburg.
"Really with this staff, any of us could be making this start," Hendricks told reporters Thursday. "I think it's more some injuries played into it with Jake a little bit, kind of a matchup to their lineup maybe. I'm just taking it as an opportunity to go out and have fun and have my team behind me, and there's nine of us going out there to start Game 1. So I just have focus on my task and what I can do to help my team win the game."
Hendricks was sidelined from June 8-July 24 with a hand injury, but he posted a 2.09 ERA after the all-star break.
Manager Dusty Baker doesn't think the Nats are catching a break drawing Hendricks in the playoff opener.
"He's a good pitcher," Baker said. "He's in the Greg Maddux mode. He throws strikes, and tempt-me strikes. He's a good pitcher. We'll just have to see."
Hendricks started against Washington on Aug. 4 at Wrigley Field. The right-hander took the loss after allowing 3 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks in 7 innings.
Strasburg might not have the track record of Scherzer, but he might be the hottest starting pitcher in the postseason.
Not only did he have the lowest ERA (0.86) in the majors after the all-star break, Strasburg was voted NL pitcher of the month for September after going 4-0 with a 0.83 ERA.
In his only start against the Cubs this season, Strasburg pitched 7 innings on June 28 at Nationals Park. He allowed 2 earned runs on 4 hits and 1 walk while striking out 13 and earning the win.
"Strasburg has been really good this last month, obviously," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "High incorporation of his changeup; really becoming even a more dominant pitch. He's always had the wonderful fastball. He's a good athlete.
"Strike-throwing ability, everything's there. You've just got to go out there with your best at-bats rights now. He's good. They are all good. Every player right now is good, all the pitchers you see are good."