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Dodgers await Cubs-Nats winner in NLCS

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CHICAGO -- Game 4 of the NL Division Series between the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs has been postponed by rain.

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

Game 4 is now scheduled for this afternoon at 3:08 p.m. CDT with Chicago leading 2-1 in the best-of-five series. Cubs manager Joe Maddon said the team will stay with Jake Arrieta for their starting pitcher, while Nationals manager Dusty Baker left open the possibility of using Game 1 starter Stephen Strasburg instead of Tanner Roark.

Chicago won 2-1 Monday at home. The winner of the NLDS takes on the Dodgers in the next round, scheduled to begin Saturday in Los Angeles.

Dodgers complete

sweep of D'backs

LOS ANGELES - The Dodgers' 1-16 skid from late August into September seemed strange while it was happening. After spending all summer as the most resilient, resourceful team in baseball, Los Angeles suddenly stopped scoring the extra runs and earning the late-game breaks that had made it so dominant.

When the 104-win Dodgers swept past Arizona and into the NL Championship Series on Monday night, that late-season slump looked even more inexplicable.

But it's clear the Dodgers have flipped their switch back on again, and that should worry every prospective opponent of this high-priced, high-powered dynamo.

After four days off, the Dodgers will get back to work this weekend when they host either the Chicago Cubs or Washington on Saturday night to begin Los Angeles' fifth NLCS in 10 years.

The Dodgers earned an extended break with their one-sided series victory over the Diamondbacks, one of the few teams to give consistent trouble to Los Angeles in the regular season. The Dodgers capped the sweep with a 3-1 win in the clincher, getting timely offense from rookie Cody Bellinger and a strong start from late-season pickup Yu Darvish before the formidable bullpen and closer Kenley Jansen slammed another door .

"You look at the three games in the series, and they're all team wins," said manager Dave Roberts, whose club outscored Arizona 20-11. "From the first pitch, there was a plan in place, and we executed. We were relentless every single pitch."

The last four times the Dodgers played for the NL pennant in the past decade, they came up short of their first World Series since 1988. The Cubs and the Nationals both pose enormous challenges, but the Dodgers earned their fifth-straight NL West title, racked up the best record in baseball and then swept past the Diamondbacks entirely to get back in position for their best shot yet at the Fall Classic.

"It's just about doing your part," Jansen said. "We were here last year, and you saw how close we got. It hurts. We've got to admit it. We know how good we are, and we know we fell short. We've been talking about this the whole year, since January when Justin (Turner) and I re-signed. From spring training, we've been talking about winning a championship. That's everybody's mindset here. We know how hard it is, and we aren't taking anything for granted. We're going to keep grinding."

Sports on 10/11/2017

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