Cubs vs Nationals: Lineups, Pitching Matchup, Broadcast Info, Game Thread
The Cubs grabbed a win last night in what was arguably the toughest pitching matchup of the series. So that’s a good start. But now they’ll need to keep their foot on the gas and hope for some continued, marginal improvements from Hayden Wesneski, who’s benefitted from big run support all season long. Here’s a look at the Chicago Cubs lineup for the second of four games in the nation’s capital.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Nico Hoerner, 2B
- Dansby Swanson, SS
- Ian Happ, LF
- Cody Bellinger, CF
- Seiya Suzuki, RF
- Edwin Rios, DH
- Eric Hosmer, 1B
- Patrick Wisdom, 3B
- Tucker Barnhart, C
Lefties have been absolutely CRUSHING Nationals starter (and old friend!) Trevor Williams this season — .309/.344/.509 (.363 wOBA) — so David Ross has snuck a few extra ones in the lineup.
- First, and most notably, Edwin Rios. The corner infielder/DH hasn’t gotten much run this season (still fewer than 25 PAs on the year), but he’ll get a shot tonight. Maybe he’ll run into one.
- Second, Tucker Barnhart. Given the (potential) injury to Yan Gomes last night, Barnhart was going to start this game no matter what, but his lefty bat plays nicely against Williams, and I’m pretty sure he’s caught most (all?) of Hayden Wesneski’s starts this season. He also has some history (and success) against Williams: 6-16, 2B, HR, BB, 2K.
- Lastly, with Rios occupying the DH spot, Eric Hosmer enters first base pushing Trey Mancini to the bench. Mancini has been hitting the ball really well lately, with 13 hits in his last 11 games (173 wRC+ over that stretch), but Eric Hosmer is still here. And he’s going to keep getting these chances until Matt Mervis shows up.
Beyond that, you can also take note of Cody Bellinger moving up to bat cleanup. I wonder if that’s going to be a fairly regular thing now that he’s healthy and hitting the ball shockingly well. It’s not really ideal with Ian Happ batting third (you can bring in a lefty to face them both), but that’s a conversation for another day. It’ll be hard to argue messing with the top-3 of this lineup.
Miguel Amaya, the Cubs top catching prospect who was just promoted straight out of Double-A, is not starting. No surprise there. Read more about the likely plan for the Cubs young catcher right here:
Washington Nationals Lineup:
- Alex Call, LF
- Luis Garcia, 2B
- Keibert Ruiz, C
- Joey Meneses, DH
- Jeimer Candelario, 3B
- Dom Smith, 1B
- Lane Thomas, RF
- CJ Abrams, SS
- Victor Robles, CF
Chicago Cubs: Hayden Wesneski, RHP
It’s been a story of incremental progress for Hayden Wesneski this season, whose last three starts have at least featured some better results: 2.76 ERA over 16.1 IP against the A’s, Dodgers, and Padres. He still hasn’t really had that one, convincing outing yet, where his fastball command allows him to maximize the effectiveness of his slider, but maybe a weaker Nationals lineup on the road is just what he needs to turn the page. None of the Nationals batters have faced Wesneski before, and they’re collectively the worst offense in the National League vs right-handed pitching. They also struggle against sliders quite a bit.
Washington Nationals: Trevor Williams, RHP
Over the offseason, our old friend Trevor Williams (who was traded to the Mets along with Javy Báez in the Pete Crow-Armstrong deadline deal) signed a two-year, $13 million contract with the Washington Nationals. And so far, he’s been a useful back-end starter. His overall numbers won’t blow you away (4.10 ERA over 26.1 IP), but he’s made five starts of at least five innings and has walked just six batters total. That’s a useful innings eater, who probably won’t torpedo your chances in any one game if nothing else. A number of players in today’s Cubs lineup have had success against Trevor Williams in the past.
- Happ: 6-21, 2B, BB, 7K
- Barnhart: 6-16, 2B, HR, BB, 2K
- Swanson: 3-12, BB, 4K
- Bellinger: 3-8, 2B, 2 HR, BB, 2K
Chicago Cubs (15-13) vs Washington Nationals (10-18) at 6:05 pm CT on Marquee Sports Network, 670 The Score