Series Preview: Nationals at Cubs, August 8 - August 10, 2022

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Series Preview: Nationals at Cubs, August 8 – August 10, 2022

Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs continue their tour of the worst teams in baseball with three games against the Washington Nationals this week. And for as bad as the Cubs have been this year, the Nationals still have 8.5 games on them in the reverse standings. They also gutted themselves at the deadline more than the Cubs did.

With all three games at Wrigley Field this week, this is really Chicago’s series to lose.

After Game 3 on Wednesday, the Cubs will head out to Iowa to face the Cincinnati Reds in the Field of Dreams game. They’ll then take an off-day on Friday (which sucks) before finishing the series on Saturday and Sunday in Cincinnati.

Then it’s three more against the Nationals and one against the Orioles, before an NL Central Parade: 11 straight against the Cardinals and Brewers with no off-days.

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (43-64) just took two of three from the Marlins and are in last place of the NL Central. They are 1.5 games out of the bottom three in the draft lottery (best odds) and 8.5 games “behind” the Washington Nationals (36-74) for the top spot.

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Since not being traded at the deadline, Willson Contreras has five hits in six games, four of which have gone for extra bases: 2 homers, a triple, and a double. And all that despite a 16% strikeout rate and a .188 BABIP. He seems comfortable, happy, and locked in at the moment.

Marcus Stroman is also looking locked in lately. He threw 6.0 scoreless innings against the Cardinals his last time out before giving up a few runs in the seventh, and has otherwise been stellar since coming off the IL in early July: 1.67 ERA over 27.0 IP, all of which came against serious contenders or pretty good teams: Dodgers, Mets, Phillies, Giants, Cardinals.

Zach McKinstry is STILL looking for his first hit since coming over from the Dodgers and playing primarily third base. I think the Cubs really like him and it’s probably just a matter of time before he starts contributing. In the meantime, I think he’ll continue taking starts at third base, pushing Patrick Wisdom to first and Frank Schwindel to the bench.

After trading Juan Soto and Josh Bell, the Nationals have exactly NO above average hitters by wRC+ this season. Yadiel Hernandez (100 wRC+) is technically their best hitter. Woof.

Game Times and Broadcast Info

  • Monday, August 8 at 7:05 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
  • Tuesday, August 9 at 7:05 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
  • Wednesday, August 10 at 1:20 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score

Pitching Probables

Game 1: Keegan Thompson (RHP) vs. Anibal Sanchez (RHP)
Game 2: Marcus Stroman (RHP) vs. Paolo Espino (RHP)
Game 3: Justin Steele (LHP) vs. Josiah Gray (RHP)

Chicago Cubs:

  • C – Willson Contreras/Yan Gomes
  • 1B – Frank Schwindel/Patrick Wisdom
  • 2B – Nick Madrigal
  • 3B – Zach McKinstry/Patrick Wisdom
  • SS – Nico Hoerner
  • LF – Ian Happ
  • CF – Chris Morel/Rafael Ortega
  • RF – Seiya Suzuki
  • DH – Rafael Ortega/Willson Contreras

Injured/Unavailable: Steven Brault, Jason Heyward, Wade MIley, Alec Mills, Kyle Hendricks, Adbert Alzolay, Brad Wieck, Codi Heuer, Manuel Rodriguez, Michael Hermosillo, Ethan Roberts

Washington Nationals:

  • C – Keibert Ruiz
  • 1B – Luke Voit
  • 2B – Cesar Hernandez
  • 3B – Ildemaro Vargas
  • SS – Luis Garcia
  • LF – Yadiel Hernadez
  • CF – Victor Robles
  • RF – Josh Palacios
  • DH – Nelson Cruz

Injured/Unavailable: Tyler Clippard, Erick Fedde, MacKenzie Gore, Seth Romero, Will Harris, Carter Kieboom, Stephen Strasburg, Joe Ross, Evan Lee, Sean Doolittle, Jackson Tetreault, Tanner Rainey

By the Numbers

Run Differential:
Cubs: -80
Nationals: -196

Runs Scored Per Game:
Cubs: 4.10
Nationals: 3.80

Runs Allowed Per Game:
Cubs: 4.85
Nationals: 5.58

Author: Michael Cerami

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