Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Nationals – 04/26/10

Game Twenty: Cubs (9-10) vs. Nationals (10-9)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 185
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Carlos Silva (2-0, 0.95/0.63) vs. John Lannan (1-1, 5.82/1.89)

The first night game at Wrigley of the 2010 season … The Cubs begin a seven-game homestand tonight with the first of three against a much-improved Washington Nationals team. Jim Riggleman has his team a game over .500 and playing good baseball. Many credit Ivan Rodriguez with the early success of the team this season. But the Nationals have pitching this year to go along with a good offense … plus Matt Capps.

Matt Capps is 8-for-8 in save opportunities this season after Jim Hendry was reportedly outbid by $500,000 for Capps’ services in the off-season. Capps was on the verge of signing with the Cubs before the Nationals offered him a little more money and the opportunity to be the team’s closer.

The Cubs will also face an old nemesis on Tuesday night. Livan Hernandez is 2-1 with a .075 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP this season. If anyone on the Cubs takes this series against the Nationals lightly they will be embarrassed in front of the home crowd.

The Cubs are just 3-3 at Wrigley this season and will complete their second homestand of the year with four against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Cubs are on the backside of a stretch of 19 games in a row that concludes on Sunday … and will get their first day off since April 13 one week from today.

The Cubs were 5-2 in seven games against the Nats a year ago. Can Lou Piniella’s crew even their season record tonight against the Washington Nationals?

One of the big surprises in all of baseball has been Carlos Silva’s start to the season. Let’s make it clear that Silva has not faced the elite teams in the Senior Circuit but he has thrown the ball better than anyone could have imagined. Tonight will be a good test for Carlos Silva … the Nationals have a very good offense, led by Adam Dunn.

Silva has won his last two games and should be 3-0 on the young season. For the first time in his career, Silva has three quality starts to begin a year.

The Cubs’ lone Carlos in the rotation is coming off a good start versus the Mets. Silva held the Mets to one run on two hits in six innings with a pair of walks and four strikeouts … Silva also hit two batters.

Tonight will be Silva’s second start of the year at Wrigley. He posted a win in his first home outing of the year … a 7-2 victory over Houston on April 16.

Carlos Silva is 0-2 in 14 career games, one start, against the Nationals/Expos organization with a 7.71 ERA and a 1.90 WHIP. The last time he faced the Nationals was on June 8, 2007. The Twins lost to the Nats 8-5 with Jason Simontacchi posting the win. Silva lasted only three innings and gave up seven runs on nine hits with a pair of walks and a strikeout.

Nationals’ Career Numbers against Carlos Silva

  • Adam Dunn – 1-for-1 with 2 walks
  • Cristian Guzman – 2-for-4
  • Willie Harris – 1-for-11 with a walk
  • Adam Kennedy – 4-for-15 with 2 doubles
  • Ivan Rodriguez – 7-for-33 with a double and 2 walks
  • Josh Willingham – 0-for-2
  • Ryan Zimmerman – 1-for-2

The Nationals’ Opening Day starter has been inconsistent this season but his team is 3-1 in his four starts. John Lannan received a no decision in his last outing against the Rockies. He allowed four runs on 11 hits in six innings with a walk and two strikeouts.

Lannan has faced three very good offenses and a Mets’ team that took three of four from the Cubs.

The Cubs have struggled against Lannan in the past (2-1 in three starts with a 3.15 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP) and must be patient with the very talented southpaw. Lannan will walk his share of hitters (10 walks this season in 21 2/3 innings) and the Cubs must take advantage of the extra baserunners.

Tonight will be Lannan’s second career start at Wrigley. Lannan beat the Cubs and Neal Cotts on August 22, 2008 13-5 despite allowing five runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings with three walks and three strikeouts (7.11 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP).

Cubs’ Career Numbers against John Lannan

  • Jeff Baker – 2-for-6
  • Marlon Byrd – 0-for-2
  • Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-4 with a double
  • Koyie Hill – 0-for-2
  • Derrek Lee – 4-for-8 with a double, 2 home runs and a walk
  • Xavier Nady – 1-for-4 with a walk
  • Aramis Ramirez – 0-for-8 with a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-5 with a walk
  • Geovany Soto – 1-for-2 with a walk
  • Ryan Theriot – 1-for-8 with a double and a walk
  • Chad Tracy – 0-for-2

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