Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Nationals – 05/16/06

Game Thirty-Eight: Cubs (15-22) vs. Nationals (13-25)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T. WCIU, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Carlos Zambrano (1-2, 3.88) vs. Livan Hernandez (1-4, 6.52)

After a much-needed day off, the Cubs face the Washington Nationals tonight under the lights at Wrigley Field for the first of a 3-game series. The Cubs are coming off one of the worst stretches in club history (3-14) and look to Carlos Zambrano to win for the second time on the season and get the club started on the right foot. Over the next nine games, the Cubs have three against the Nationals, three against the White Sox and three against the Marlins in Florida and 12 of their next 15 are in Chicago.

The Cubs need to focus on one game at a time and work on building confidence and consistency, plus the veterans need to step up their play….especially Juan Pierre and Aramis Ramirez. The Cubs will get a lift on Thursday when Kerry Wood takes the mound and it would be even better if he could take the ball with a chance of a series sweep over the Nationals.

Livan Hernandez can be very dominating at times and is 9-5 with a 4.08 ERA lifetime against the Cubs, but he is having a bad year and his last time out against the Reds the Nationals lost the game 9-6. Hernandez threw 5 1/3 innings and gave up 5 runs on 9 hits, walked 4 and struck out 6 and other than April 29th against St. Louis, Hernandez has allowed at least 3 runs in 8 starts and he has allowed 4 walks a game in his last three starts.

If the Cubs can show some plate discipline tonight, they will be able to run on Hernandez and score some runs….this would be a good time for Juan Pierre to have a breakout performance and for Aramis Ramirez to put the first six weeks of the season behind him and remember what it felt like to hit the ball in Arizona.

The only key for tonight is to just win the ballgame.

Let’s Talk Cubbies Baseball….

Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver