wrigley stands crowd

The Chicago Cubs continue the “litmus test” portion of the schedule, with four straight against the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field.

The first game is tonight and Kyle Hendricks will take the ball for the Cubs. Hendricks has been quietly excellent this season, although he was skipped the last time through the lineup after a series of rainouts and off days through off the schedule. Still, he’s doing what he always has to limit the walks ( 4.4%), while getting just enough strikeouts (20.7%).

He’ll be opposed by Nationals righty Joe Ross. Ross, 22, came up through the Padres system, but made his major league debut last season for the Nationals. Last year, he was pretty good (but not great) and finished the season with a pitching slash line of 3.64/3.42/3.62. Through four starts this year, he has just a 0.79 ERA, but a 4.18 xFIP due in some small part to his very low strikeout rate (16.1%).

But maybe he’ll get a break, because tonight he’ll face a Cubs team without Kyle Schwarber, Miguel Montero, Jason Heyward, Jorge Soler or Javier Baez in the lineup. Indeed, Ryan Kalish draws the start in left, Tommy La Stella is at third base and Tim Federowicz is behind the plate. They’ll make it work.



Game Info

Chicago Cubs (20-6) at Washington Nationals (19-8), 7:05 CT on CSN, MLBN, 670 The Score.

Game Thread and Series Preview

Your game thread is down there in the comments, so have fun. But keep it “safe for work” type fun, all right?

The Series Preview lives here. The Lineup Discussion lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Cubs: Kyle Hendricks (R): 3.52 ERA, 2.50 FIP, 2.88 xFIP; 4.75 K/BB

versus

Pirates: Joe Ross: (R): 0.79 ERA, 2.89 FIP, 4.18 xFIP; 2.00 K/BB



Washington Nationals Lineup

1. Michael Taylor, CF

2. Anthony Rendon, 3B

3. Bryce Harper, RF

4. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B

5. Daniel Murphy, 2B

6. Jason Werth, LF

7. Wilson Ramos, C

8. Danny Espinosa, SS

9. Joe Ross, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Dexter Fowler, CF

2. Tommy La Stella, 3B

3. Kris Bryant, RF

4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

5. Ben Zobrist, 2B

6. Ryan Kalish, LF

7. Addison Russell, SS

8. Tim Federowicz, C

9. Kyle Hendricks, P


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