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nationals parkToday’s game should provide a brief respite from the post-Samardzija/Hammel 2014 doom and gloom tour. Jake Arrieta makes his first start since his second-straight almost-no-no, which came in Boston as the Cubs were riding relatively high. He threw 120 pitches in that one, so I wouldn’t mind seeing him with a nice, crisp, 95 pitch outing. I know, I know. I’m overprotective and reactionary … but Arrieta’s important, yo.

Of course, if Arrieta has a let-down outing and doesn’t pitch well, you can expect the meatballs to be out in force about the trade.

A win today, and the Cubs win the series. That would seem really bizarre after yesterday’s game and the trade that preceded it, but it could happen.

John Baker starts behind the plate, which makes me wonder if he’ll take over as Arrieta’s regular guy, now that Jason Hammel is gone. Or it could just be that Welington Castillo caught a very long game yesterday.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (38-47) at Washington Nationals (47-39), 12:35 CT on WGN.

Game Thread and Series Preview

Game threads now live here in the comments, using the Disqus platform. Enjoy.

The Series Preview lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Jake Arrieta (1.81 ERA, 1.97 FIP, 2.50 xFIP; 4.63 K/BB)

versus

Jordan Zimmermann (2.95 ERA, 2.74 FIP, 3.17 xFIP; 4.79 K/BB)

Washington Nationals Lineup

1. Denard Span, CF

2. Anthony Rendon, 2B

3. Jayson Werth, RF

4. Adam LaRoche, 1B

5. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

6. Bryce Harper, LF

7. Ian Desmond, SS

8. Wilson Ramos, C

9. Jordan Zimmermann, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Ryan Sweeney, LF

2. Justin Ruggiano, CF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Starlin Castro, SS

5. Luis Valbuena, 3B

6. Nate Schierholtz, RF

7. John Baker, C

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Jake Arrieta, P

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