Series Preview: Cubs at Nationals, September 6 - September 9, 2018

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Series Preview: Cubs at Nationals, September 6 – September 9, 2018

Chicago Cubs

The Washington Nationals’ season may be over – I mean, the Cubs have their starting second baseman on the roster, after all – but they could still play spoiler, and I’m sure that’s what they’ll try to do to the Cubs this week.

Worse, because of the lengthy four-game set, the Cubs will get both Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer before the weekend is through, which is a bit of a bummer, but it happens. Cubs have done pretty well against great starters lately anyway.

As for the goal of the series, I’m not shooting for a particular number of wins or losses, but rather just keeping the Brewers at least 4.0 games back like they are right now. That way, in the nightmare scenario, they can’t take over first when they meet up with the Cubs on Monday.

But remember, the Nationals may have had a rough season, but still have some serious firepower on that team. It won’t be easy.

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (82-57) may have dropped two of three to the Brewers, but by winning just one game, they managed to keep their heads well above water. They’ve won six of their past ten and head into Washington with a semi-hot club (well, before this Brewers series, at least).

The Washington Nationals (69-71) might have a heh-heh nice record, but they’re two games below .500 and 7.5 games out in the East. And because the Brewers and Cardinals have the second and third best record in the National League, the Nationals are even further out of the Wild Card race (9.0 games).

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

  • Thursday, September 6th at 6:05 CT on CSNC, MLBN, 670 The Score
  • Friday, September 7th at 6:05 CT on CSNC, 670 The Score
  • Saturday, September 8th at 6:05 CT on WGN, MLBN, 670 The Score
  • Sunday, September 9th at 12:35 CT on TBS, 670 The Score

Chicago Cubs

Probable Pitchers:

  • Kyle Hendricks (3.77 ERA, 3.95 FIP; 3.38 K/BB)
  • Jon Lester (3.53 ERA, 4.63 FIP; 2.25 K/BB)
  • Cole Hamels (3.67 ERA, 4.36 FIP; 2.91 K/BB)
  • Mike Montgomery (3.85 ERA, 3.86 FIP; 2.00 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Willson Contreras
  • 1B – Anthony Rizzo
  • 2B – Daniel Murphy
  • 3B – Kris Bryant/David Bote
  • SS – Javy Baez
  • LF – Kyle Schwarber/Ben Zobrist
  • CF – Ian Happ/Albert Almora
  • RF – Ben Zobrist/Kris Bryant

Unavailable: Jason Heyward, Brandon Morrow, Yu Darvish, Justin Hancock, Drew Smyly, Mark Zagunis

Washington Nationals

Probable Pitchers:

  • Stephen Strasburg (4.09 ERA, 3.54 FIP; 4.37 K/BB)
  • Joe Ross (5.01 ERA, 4.99 FIP; 3.40 K/BB)
  • Max Scherzer (2.28 ERA, 2.73 FIP; 5.65 K/BB)
  • Erick Fedde (6.00 ERA, 4.94 FIP; 2.36 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Matt Wieters
  • 1B – Ryan Zimmerman
  • 2B – Wilmer Digo
  • 3B – Anthony Rendon
  • SS – Trea Turner
  • LF – Juan Soto
  • CF – Bryce Harper
  • RF – Adam Eaton

Unavailable: Sean Doolittle, Jeremy Hellickson, Kelvin Herrera, Howie Kendrick, Jhonatan Solanco

Keep An Eye Out For …

Cubs Pitcher: Steve Cishek has given up just 14 earned runs this whole season, but three of them have come in his past five games. If Brandon Morrow really might not come back, then the Cubs will absolutely need Cishek to be on top of his game come October.

Cubs Player: Willson Contreras is still pretty cold, notching just one hit, a single, in his last four games. His overall slash line is still above average (107 wRC+), but his second-half production has really been about as bad as it gets (73 wRC+). That’s Jason Heyward circa 2016 bad.

Nationals Pitcher: Max Scherzer struck out 11 batters and walked just 1 in his last outing against the Cubs (August 12), so … I don’t know. Let’s hope they figured out how to attack one of the best pitchers in the planet since then.

Nationals Player: Bryce Harper is coming off a three-hit game against the Cardinals and four-game hitting streak overall. Just before that, however, he went on a lengthy bender, wherein he recorded just 3 hits in 33 plate appearances. He still walked a ton (18.2%), but the .111 average and .148 slugging wasn’t doing much for anyone. He’s always a threat, but he’s not currently on a hot streak.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami