The unstoppable force that is the MLB-best Washington Nationals meets the immovable object … Chris Volstad and his two-game winning streak! We know that Volstad is the king of long losing streaks, but I propose that he’s actually just the king of streaks. Thus, how can he possibly lose tonight? Is two games really a “streak”?

Also, the Cubs gave Gio Gonzalez one of his worst starts of the year when these teams last met. So what if that was the first series of the year?

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (51-84) at Washington Nationals (83-52), 6:05 CT on CSN.

Game Thread and Series Preview

The Game Thread lives here. You should participate in the madness. And, of course, for those who aren’t into message board-style game threads, please feel free to use the comments on this post for your in-game commentary/outbursts.

The Series Preview for this series lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Chris Volstad (2-9, 6.06 ERA, 4.28 FIP)


Gio Gonzalez (17-7, 3.10 ERA, 2.85 FIP)

Washington Nationals Lineup

1. Roger Bernadina, CF

2. Bryce Harper, RF

3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4. Adam LaRoche, 1B

5. Michael Morse, LF

6. Ian Desmond, SS

7. Danny Espinosa, 2B

8. Kurt Suzuki, C

9. Gio Gonzalez, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Joe Mather, CF

2. Dave Sappelt, RF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Starlin Castro, SS

6. Welington Castillo, C

7. Josh Vitters, 3B

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Chris Volstad, P

  • jim

    Cubs can be classified asplaying below the fray 😉

  • calicubsfan007

    Let’s continue the streak to three!!! Then he will be only 3-9! Yeah!

  • Luke D

    Joe Mather has become the Luis Valbuena of the outfield.

    • taters

      not fair to Luis

      • Professional_High_A


  • Stu

    Batting Joe Mather leadoff again? Must be trying to increase his trade value.

  • Kyle

    I’m at the point where I’m relieved Brett Jackson isn’t in the lineup so that I don’t have to watch the horrorshow that is him becoming a worthless bust. Shame Vitters is playing, for the same reason.

    • Njriv

      I’d rather watch BJax much more than Joe Mather.

    • JR

      To me BJax looks a lot better than he did when he first came up. He had his hands way to low and not back enough early. He made an adjustment and has been better. I think he could be a solid everyday player.

      • Kyle

        I’m afraid I can’t agree with that.

        He’s in a 2-for-21 slump, with 12 K and 4 BB.

        No adjustment has been made. He’s got a massive hole in his swing that he can’t close. AAA pitchers were finding it consistently, and MLB pitchers will abuse it to a much higher degree.

        • JR

          He absolutely made an adjustment look at his stance. He strikes out a ton, and it’s very annoying, but he has made an adjustment back to what made him a top 40 prospect before this year started.

        • Njriv

          He did make an adjustment, but major league players are constantly making adjustments, especially young ones, so just because he is struggling now doesn’t mean he never made an adjustment. When he first came up he struggled and he made an adjustment and he went on a roll for a week or so, now he’s back in a slump and needs to make some more.

          • Kyle

            It was a futile adjustment, then.

            More likely, Cubs fans, desperate for good news and eager for a reason to dismiss Jackson’s struggles, became overly excited about a very brief, unsustainable hot streak.

            Guys who K 33% of the time in AAA just don’t turn into productive MLB hitters very often.

            • JR

              Yes, I understand that guys who K that much in AAA suck in the majors, but I still think he has a shot of being decent in the majors. Obviously you don’t..

    • Chet Masterson

      I also enjoy doing this. I take things that have happened in the last 1 or 2 games, and then use those to make broad judgements. For instance, if Brett Jackson were to go 2-3 with a walk, double and a homer tonight, I would say that he is making the adjustment to MLB pitching. Then if we could just get Baez/Almora/Vogelbach/Soler up there in 2013 we could really have something!

      Then, two days later, if he struck out 4 times, I would post that he looks ‘lost’ at the plate and say something like THANKS HENDRY! I would most likely then suggest the Cubs need to take a look at and give him some ABs.

      • Chet Masterson

        Apparently the site didn’t like my faux HTML tags. Let’s try that again..

        …I would most likely then suggest the Cubs need to take a look at (random fringe MiLB prospect) and give him some ABs.

      • Bric

        You realize that Hendry left a team basically barren of young talent and in debt up to its eyes, right? They have to go at least 9 and 16 just to win 60 games this year.

        In over 100 hundred years of futility this is one of the top 2 or 3 worst teams to ever wear the uniform. Who else was driving this bus as it ran off the road? So, yes, I will say THANKS, Hendry.

        • JR

          Hendry was an absolute genius who only gave out great contracts and drafted amazingly well. He took a lot of pride in developing players, and didn’t listen to others when they told him to sign a player to make the team worth more. Not sure where you’re coming from Bric..

          • Bill

            Nobody was more happy than I when Hendry was fired, but we can’t lay all the blame at his feet. He was told by the owner to SPEND money (which was actually a smart business move for an owner selling the team). The problem was those were weak FA years. Hendry also had ownership that wouldn’t spend money in the draft (or scouts, farm, etc), so it’s tough to follow the Rays model if you don’t have money to sign the big players. Finally, it’s not Hendry’s fault that Wood and Prior got hurt and Big Z went loony. The Cubs had the best young core of starting pitchers in MLB. Maybe we should let the Tribune Co share in the blame for the mess the Cubs are currently in.

        • Kyle

          Hendry won 3 division titles in 9 years.

          Epstein is 0 for 1, and the next few aren’t looking good.

          Epstein is obviously much smarter than Hendry, but I’d like to wait for some results before I start calling scoreboard on Hendry.

          • Njriv

            That is true, but Epstein was brought here specifically to rebuild, unlike Hendry who was brought in to win now, two different circumstances.

          • JR

            That’s not a fair comparison in any sory of way. Obviously the Cubs weren’t going to make the playoffs this year or next year. There farm system was a train wreck when Theo took over.. Winning the World Series is about making the playoffs on a regular basis. And it will take 3 or 4 years to have the farm system to make the playoffs every year. Hendry was an idiot. Theo has a lot to prove, no doubt. But at least he’s fixing the foundation..

            • Kyle

              Calling the farm system a “train wreck” when Epstein got here is a bit of an overstatement. It a borderline middle-of-the-pack system with some intriguing low-minors guys and coming off a pretty good draft.

              • JR

                Their farm system wasn’t White Sox bad, but it was pretty bad.. Sure they were coming off a good draft, but I am pretty sure they were not middle of the pack. It was not a good farm system.

                • Kyle

                  I would have put it in the 18-20 range.

              • JR

                Ok, I am not a Theo lover at all. I think he completely messed up dealing Garza, and not a huge fan of any deal other than the Rizzo deal. But, Hendry didn’t understand the importance of a farm system and Theo does. At least he has that going for him

                • Bil

                  Hendry understood the importance of a farm system, but was never given he resources. Tough to build a good farm system if the ownership doesn’t give you resources. That’s been the case with the Cubs for as long as I can remember. Theo didn’t come up with this concept. Ricketts knew this BEFORE Theo was hired and Hendry actually had his best draft his final season, because Ricketts gave him money to spend on draft picks. Cubs owners have always (at least in my lifetime) went cheap on the farm, scouting, personnel, draft, etc. It’s why Dallas Green left.

                  • King Jeff

                    You mean besides the record deal he gave to Mark Prior, right? I’m pretty sure Vitters, Patterson, Lou Montanez, and Bobby Brownlie all got pretty big signing bonuses under Hendry. While I see where you can say that Hendry was limited in a few of his drafts financially, he had more than his fair share of chances with a big checkbook for the draft and international signings. He was just plain bad at drafting, whether he had the money to spend that year or not.

                    • Bil

                      I’d like to see how the Cubs spent on the draft compared to teams like TB, NY, Bos, etc. The guys you listed were 1st round picks (high 1st round), so of course they are going to get high bonuses. What Hendry did in his final season is sign is drafted ‘hard to sign guys’ in later rounds. This is what Theo and other teams do but you have to pay $$$ to get that stud HS player to pass up his scholarship to play at Stanford.

                      Again, if Hendry was such a dunce in the draft why was his best draft, his final one? It was money. Ricketts gave him free reign that draft.

                      You think Hendry is the only GM who’s had first round busts?

                      Hendry’s biggest mistake was overvaluing his own players. He had a chance to get proven MLB players for guys like Patterson, but by the time Hendry decided to trade him, he wasn’t worth anything.

      • Kyle

        I was actually predicting Jackson to be a total bust before he was called up. You don’t strike out 33% of the time in AAA and turn into a quality major leaguer.

    • Bric

      What?! Kyle, don’t you know that drafting is a crap shoot and 90% or more of the drafted players don’t ever even sniff the major leagues? You may as well just go to Vegas and play the slots as rely on a 1st rounder (or 10) to actually produce.

      Sorry, I was channeling Hendry and a few of his apologists for a second. Unfortunately for us teams like the Nats and Rays don’t follow this theology.

    • Drew7

      OR Jackson has looked exactly like scouts projected: a good 4th OF’er

  • Picklenose

    That lineup looks a bit like the front office is worried that we are a little too close to catching the Rockies.

  • droppedsomething

    Good grief! This is gonna be a bloodbath…again!

  • taters

    Tut tut, you never can tell with bees.

  • http://bleachernation loyal100more

    mather? i no longer know what this guy is doing here at all.

  • paul

    Hendry never went to the w s and had a payroll over 100 mil = he SUCKS

  • baldtaxguy

    The Volstad Crap Show is in full stage diarhrea

  • Big Joe

    4 starters needed next year. 2 options in Shark, and Wood. Anyone who thinks next year will be ANY better, is nuts.

    • RY34

      it will be worse.

    • Njriv

      Yeah at least two SP’s next season depending if they keep Garza.

  • Ramy16

    What a play by Starlin Castro with the base loaded! Too bad Volstad is sucking it up!

  • Ramy16

    I hope we can get Mark Reynolds! That would solve our 3rd base option until some of the talent gets up to the show! Reynolds may strike a ton but his defense is great and can mash between 25-30 hrs! I’ll take his 190-200 strike outs year for production! Baltimore owns his option this year…. If they don’t pick it up.. I hope Theo Co pick him up!

  • Josh

    We are definitely going to lose 100 game this season

    • die hard

      If you are right then my posted preseason prediction of 1962 Mets approx 120 losses was too pessimistic….Darn Soriano!!!..Ruined what couldve been my best prediction ever

  • daveyrosello

    The current state of the Cubs reminds me of the 80-82 trainwreck version Cubs. Just downright painful watching this awful team. Egads.

  • Drew7

    RizzOMG with an absolute bomb.