Game One Hundred Sixteen: Cubs (49-66) vs. Nationals (55-59)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Matt Garza (5-8, 3.78/1.30) vs. Chien-Ming Wang (0-2, 6.00/1.89)
Updated: 7:40pm CDT – Cubs-Nationals Officially Postponed – Will Be Made Up Thursday, August 11 at 1:20pm
Weather permitting … The Cubs begin a three-game series with the Washington Nationals tonight … that concludes with Ron Santo Day at Wrigley and the unveiling of his statue outside the park.
The Cubs lost their first game in a week on Sunday and the Nats are coming off a four-game split in Colorado.
The Cubs have shown improvement of late. After winning 10 of 16 against NL Central opponents, the Cubs are 12-11 since the break and have crept to within four games of .500 at home (27-31)
In other news … Jeff Samardzija will likely be unavailable tonight after pitching in back-to-back games as well as pitching the better part of two innings on Sunday.
Starlin Castro is riding an impressive eight game hitting streak … as well as a nine game streak of scoring at least one run. Castro is the first Cub to accomplish a nine-game scoring streak since Derrek Lee (September 7 – September 16, 2009). The last player to score in 10 straight games was Mark DeRosa back in 2008 (May 9 – May 19).
Tonight it all starts with Matt Garza … Matt Garza is coming off his first win in over month and is in the middle of an excellent stretch. Garza shutout the Pirates over seven-plus innings and he allowed just four hits while walking two and striking out three. Garza is a very solid 1-1 in his last five starts with a 2.41 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP.
Garza, unlike his rotation mates, has put together a good season in his home ballpark. Tonight will be Garza’s 12th start of the year at Wrigley and he is 3-3 in 11 starts with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.
The last time Garza started a game against the Nationals he was pulled in the third inning with one of the shortest starts of his career. The Nationals pounded Garza in third in his last start before the break. The Cubs came back and won the game after Garza allowed seven runs, six earned, with a walk and four strikeouts in two-plus innings.
Tonight will be Garza’s third career start against the Nationals … no record in two starts with a 10.57 ERA and a 2.61 WHIP.
Nationals Career Numbers against Matt Garza
- Rick Ankiel – 0-for-2
- Alex Cora – 0-for-3
- Ian Desmond – 0-for-1
- Danny Espinosa – 2-for-2
- Jonny Gomes – 2-for-5 with a double
- Michael Morse – 1-for-2
- Wilson Ramos – 1-for-2 with a double
- Jayson Werth – 2-for-5 with a home run
- Ryan Zimmerman – 2-for-4 with a walk
Chien-Ming Wang will make just his third start of the season tonight after spending a majority of the last three seasons on the DL. Wang is coming off a decent start against the Braves in which he allowed six runs, two earned, on seven hits with a walk. Wang did not record a strikeout.
The Cubs must be patient against Chien-Ming Wang tonight and make him work.
Tonight will be Wang’s second career start against the Cubs and his first at Wrigley Field.
Chien-Ming Wang dominated the Dusty Baker-led Cubs back on June 18, 2005 at Yankee Stadium. Wang held the Cubs to one run on five hits with a walk and five strikeouts in eight innings. The Cubs only run came via a longball off the bat of Jason Dubois. Aramis Ramirez is the only remaining Cub that was in the starting lineup more than six years ago.
Marlon Byrd (1-for-4 with a double), Reed Johnson (2-for-8 with a walk), Carlos Pena (6-for-16 with three double, a home run and a walk), Aramis Ramirez (1-for-3) and Alfonso Soriano (1-for-3 with a walk) are the only active Cubs with at bats against Chien-Ming Wang.
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