Game Thirty-Nine: Cubs (16-22) vs. Nationals (13-26)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T. Comcast SportsNet, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Sean Marshall (2-1, 4.93) vs. Zach Day (2-3, 5.85)
The Cubs look for their first back-to-back wins since late April tonight against the Washington Nationals. Sean Marshall is coming off of his worst start of the season against the Giants when he allowed 9 runs on 9 hits in just 3 2/3 innings of work. Marshall has been a huge surprise this year for the Cubs and had only allowed 2 runs in his previous 2 starts before the game against the Giants on May 11th. Marshall looked uncomfortable from the start, something uncharacteristic this season for the rookie left-hander. The Cubs need another quality start from Marshall and the team is 5-1 with him on the mound this season. Carlos Zambrano kept Dusty from going to the pen early on Tuesday and with Kerry Wood making his first start of the season on Thursday, a rested bullpen would be a huge lift going into that game.
The Cubs offense showed signs of life on Tuesday against Livan Hernandez, a pitcher that usually has very good outings against the Cubs (9-5/4.08 lifetime) and must continue to improve tonight against Zach Day. Day had a very bad April (with the Rockies) and was 1-3 with a 9.82 ERA in 4 starts, but in his 2 starts in May (with the Nationals) he is 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA. The Nationals claimed Day off of waivers from the Colorado Rockies on April 26 and has pitched extremely well for them. He shutout the Pirates over 7 innings on May 5th and held the Reds potent offense to only 1 run on 7 hits on May 11th. Day has only allowed 6 earned runs since being added to the Nationals rotation.
Juan Pierre must continue what he started on Tuesday (2 for 5) and provide the Cubs with a major distraction for Zach Day. Day can be rattled, but again the Cubs must remain patient and allow him to make a mistake to beat himself. Day is a sinker-ball pitcher and if that ball gets up the Cubs could gain a tremendous amount of confidence going into Thursday afternoon’s game and Kerry Wood’s season debut.
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