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nationals parkAfter an off-day, the Cubs open up a three-game set in Washington. The last time they were here, the Cubs were absolutely blasted by the Nationals, and the Cubs picked a fight. Hopefully this series has at least that much excitement, but maybe with less of the beat down.

I’d been wondering how Dale Sveum would manage his “against lefties” lineup now that Dave Sappelt is down in Iowa. I approve of today’s solution, which has Starlin Castro taking the leadoff spot (against lefties? sure, that’s fine), and Ryan Sweeney playing in center in place of David DeJesus. Sweeney is theoretically better defensively in center than DeJesus, and might be a touch better against lefties (though not great).

No Bryce Harper for the Nationals today.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (13-21) at Washington Nationals (19-15), 6:05 CT on WGN.

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

Jeff Samardzija (1-4, 3.09 ERA, 3.06 K/BB)

versus

Ross Detwiler (1-3, 2.50 ERA, 2.63 K/BB)

Washington Nationals Lineup

1. Denard Span, CF

2. Roger Bernadina, RF

3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4. Adam LaRoche, 1B

5. Ian Desmond, SS

6. Danny Espinosa, 2B

7. Tyler Moore, LF

8. Kurt Suzuki, C

9. Ross Detwiler, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Starlin Castro, SS

2. Cody Ransom, 3B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Scott Hairston, RF

6. Welington Castillo, C

7. Ryan Sweeney, CF

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Jeff Samardzija, P

  • Carew

    Two leftfielders? Revolutionary! Sorry, you made a “whoops” on the lineup

    • TWC

      Nah, it’s just one of Sveum’s defensive shifts.

    • João Lucas

      On both teams!

      • TWC

        Sveum works in mysterious ways.

        • @cubsfantroy

          LOL

          I got a legit laugh from that. To the point my girlfriend told me to shut up and keep it down.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Whoops indeed. Both teams …

  • tom

    I would like to see JULIO BORBON play more !! Sweeney (LF) Borbon (CF) Schuroltz (RF)

    • ssckelley

      why?

      • tom

        why not ??

        • Timothy Scarbrough

          There is a reason why they don’t play more.

          • tom

            why not give Him a shot, not like the others are tearing up the league

            • Kyle

              He’s been playing professional baseball for the better part of a decade. We know what he can do, and it’s not play at a level worthy of being a starting outfielder.

        • ssckelley

          Because he is nothing more than a scrap heap 4th outfielder, at best. There is a good reason why Texas released him.

          I answered your question now you answer mine, why do you want to see Borbon in the lineup so bad?

          • @cubsfantroy

            Texas released him so the Cubs could get him and it is the starting point of an impending Garza trade!

            • TWC

              larf

  • tom

    Soriano (belongs in American League) DeJesus is OK but can do better, Cubs picked up Borban for a reason, lets see what He can do, wouldnt hurt, not like Cubs in first place

    • frank

      As to what Borbon can do–see Kyle’s response above. We know what he can do, and it’s not all that good.

  • Yoga Master

    It’s good to see Rizzo out of that slump. He had me worried.

  • college_of_coaches

    Does Soriano qualify as a far-left fielder?

  • cooter

    I don’t know about you guys but I have a hard time staying awake during the games. That’s not a joke. Between the cubs, Len and Jim it’s like a lullaby. I was never to fond of Len but Bob was able to make Lens dull humor work. I know it takes time to get comfortable at a new job but I sure hope Len and Jim can start meshing together soon. Just my opinion.

    • tom

      Jim is just OK, He sounds like Dan Rohn (WGN)

    • jt

      Not a fan of Len…. not a fan of many of today’s announcers.
      JD is starting to grow on me. Like his wit and the fact that he doesn’t let it linger before discussing the game. At times it seems as if he actually has something to say.

  • Stevie B

    Is it draft day yet???

    (YAAAAAWN)

  • Spencer

    ehhh, I dunno about Starlin leading off. Although, with that lineup, I admittedly don’t have a better solution. I don’t think it would be the worst thing in the world to play DeJesus against lefties. Regardless of the handedness of the pitcher, he’ll still have patient at bats.

  • mudge

    Castro goes 2 for 3 with a bb and an sb and never bats lead-off again.

  • Jason P

    Does anyone know what happened to the Korean pitcher we signed last winter, Chang-Yong Lim?

    • Kyle

      Presumably still rehabbing from TJS.

    • DarthHater

      Somebody posting here last week claimed to have some inside knowledge that he is close to coming back. Take that with as much salt as you think appropriate…

  • Die hard

    I predict Castro goes 4-4 and then question will be should he lead off all year L and R

    • Drew7

      …And the answer should be “no”.

    • Rebuilding

      Your prediction is looking pretty good so far…

  • SenorGato

    Starlin Castro has taken 3 pitches. That’s crazy.

  • willis

    Castro seems to have success in that leadoff spot. Good start to the game. Go get ‘em Shark!

  • willis

    Holy shit does his stuff look filthy tonight.

  • Tim

    Bummer, Oklahoma is playing on EspnU tonight. Jonathon Gray was supposed to pitch but they pushed him back to tomorrow. I do not believe tomorrow’s game is on tv

  • Rebuilding

    Was looking at Fangraphs projected standings earlier. Based on our run differential and future schedule they still have us for 76 wins, so basically .500 the rest of the way out. They have the 2nd wildcard as the Reds with 85 wins. We aren’t as far off as it feels. Of course the sell-off will tank that projection

  • RY34

    Yet another great job of hitting with runners in scoring position tonight already! Pathetic

  • Jp3

    Oh look it’s 7-2 again like the caption this photo pic….

  • Die hard

    Even 6 won’t do it tonite but 6 more will

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