As expected, the Nationals will have taken advantage of Tuesday’s rainout to allow them to use both Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez as starters in the final two games of this series, meaning the Cubs will have faced *exclusively* top 5 NL starting pitchers (by ERA) in this series. That make you feel any differently about how the Cubs’ bats have performed?
Gonzalez, 32, was excellent for the Nationals this year, though the Cubs managed three runs off of him in five innings in Game Two of the NLDS. You might be willing to book that right now if you were given the option. Hopefully the bats will have him timed up well.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Cubs go with the same righty-heavy lineup this time around. This is how they went for Gonzalez before:
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Wilson Contreras, C
- Addison Russell, SS
- Ben Zobrist, RF
- Javy Baez, 2B
- Ian Happ, LF
- Jon Lester, P
Obviously that pitcher spot will now be Kyle Hendricks, but the rest might stay the same to load up on righties. Gonzalez had a huge split this year (.229 wOBA v. lefties, .296 wOBA v. righties).
As for how the Nationals will actually use Gonzalez, my guess is they’ll have Tanner Roark ready to go at any moment, and won’t let Gonzalez get into much trouble before pulling the plug. And if things stay close, you can expect Max Scherzer to get a couple innings, too.
Score early and often, Cubs.