The Cubs just split a series with the Miami Marlins, and it was a missed opportunity for the boys in blue pinstripes. The pitching staff was excellent, but the offense failed to take advantage of the opportunities afforded it.
Now the Cubs head to the District of Columbia, where the impressive Washington Nationals await them for a four-game series. The Nats are the third-best offensive team in the majors in fWAR (15.4), ninth in pitching fWAR (8.5), and currently have the second-best record in the National League (45-30). They are sitting pretty in their division with a nine-game lead over the second place Atlanta Braves.
The Cubs will need to continue their strong pitching against a team that is third in runs scored (138) this month, and that is slashing .283/.338/.492 with 40 home runs. The Cubs are 22nd in runs scored (110), have hit 35 home runs, and are slashing .255/.338/.462 in June. If those trends continue, this trip might not be a lot of fun.
Things are a little bit different for the pitching, as the Cubs are allowing the lowest opponent wOBA (.287) for the month of June, compared to Washington’s 10th ranked wOBA against (.314). Essentially, it indicates the Cubs are not walking very many batters and not allowing tons of extra-base hits. This is a good sign, because the pitching staff has had its issues this year. Before the month of June, the Cubs ranked 15th in wOBA (.316). Now they rank sixth.
They’ll need good pitching in this series if they hope to have any shot of coming out of Washington D.C. with two or more wins.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Monday, June 26 at 6:05 CT on CSN, MLB Network (out-of-market)
- Tuesday, June 27 at 6:05 CT on ABC-7, MLB Network (out-of-market)
- Wednesday, June 28 at 6:05 CT on CSN, MLB Network (out-of-market)
- Thursday, June 29 at 3:05 CT on CSN, MLB Network (out-of-market)
What to Watch For
Javy Baez has quietly put together a seven-game hitting streak. During this stretch, he’s 11-for-26 (.423) with seven singles and four doubles. He has also walked twice, one of which was of the intentional variety, and struck out only four times in 28 plate appearances. Hopefully he continues his great stretch on offense because the Cubs will need all they can get in this series. Look to see if he continues this great stretch of offense.
Watch for John Lackey to limit the damage on the inevitable home runs he’ll allow in his start. Against Miami he gave up just a single bomb to Giancarlo Stanton, which surprised nobody. In his last three starts (17 IP), he’s allowed five dingers, but only seven runs (six earned). So, clearly they’ve been mostly solo shots. Maybe one of these days he’ll pitch an outing in which he doesn’t allow a long bomb, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.