After such a promising start to the series against Arizona, the Cubs faltered a bit in the last two games. On Wednesday the offense got shut down by Zack Godley and company, and on Friday the pitching failed to hold the Diamondbacks’ offense at bay, allowing five home runs. It was a good test against a good team, but unfortunately the Cubs did not pass that exam. It only gets harder as they welcome the Washington Nationals to Wrigley.
The Nationals have gone 11-8 since the All-Star break and recently struggled in a series against the Marlins, dropping two of three to the Fish. They also lost Max Scherzer for an undetermined amount of time after he left Tuesday’s 1-0 win in the 2nd inning due of neck spasms.
If he’s out for an extended period of time, they could very well be in trouble, especially since Stephen Strasburg is dealing with a nerve impingement in his pitching elbow and young stud Joe Ross suffered a torn UCL. As of now, we don’t know who Dusty Baker plans to put on the bump for the Saturday and Sunday games. Former Cub Edwin Jackson will probably start one of those, which bodes well for the offense that day.
Nats lefty Gio Gonzalez is taking paternity leave, which means that Edwin Jackson will take the Saturday start and Erick Fedde will be on the bump Sunday. This is easily the most favorable pitching matchup the Cubs could possibly hope for.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Friday, August 4 at 1:20 CT on WGN
- Saturday, August 5 at 1:20 CT on ABC-7
- Sunday, August 6 at 1:20 CT on TBS
What to Watch For
Willson Contreras has been on an absolute tear recently. Since the break, he has slashed .333/.413/.712 with a 185 wRC+ and a .459 wOBA. In other words, he’s hitting the snot out of the ball and reaching base a ton. Look for him to continue his great stretch of baseball, and enjoy it.
John Lackey has been able to pitch better than his peripherals virtually all season long and I have no idea how he’s sustained it. Don’t expect him to pitch well, but also don’t be surprised if he only allows a couple of runs in his start on Saturday.
Watch for how the pitchers approach the Nationals’ lineup. They did okay against the Nats in the series at the nation’s capital, only allowing four homers as they split the four-game series. They did have issues keeping the lead, and almost gave the first game of that series away in the bottom of the 9th. Luckily, Trea Turner won’t be able to run all over the Cubs this time, because he’s out for an undetermined length with an unfortunate wrist injury suffered when he was hit by a Pedro Strop pitch.