Game Thirty-Six: Cubs (13-22) vs. Nationals (20-15)
- Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 186/844
- Location – Nationals Park, Washington D.C.
Edwin Jackson (0-5, 6.39/1.63) vs. Stephen Strasburg (1-4, 3.45/1.15)
Weather permitting … Edwin Jackson and the Chicago Cubs will try to put an end to two losing streaks this afternoon. The Cubs have lost five straight at Nationals Park and eight of the last nine while Jackson has not a won a game all season and the Cubs are just 1-6 in his seven starts.
The Cubs have struggled with the Expos/Nationals franchise for years but not like they have over the last two-plus seasons. The Cubs played some of their worst ball in D.C. a year ago and managed a 1-6 record in the seven games against the Nationals. The Cubs are just 4-11 in the last 15 with the Nationals.
If there is such a thing as a big game for a pitcher starting in May for a team that is nine games under .500, this would be it. Edwin Jackson really needs to put together a good outing this afternoon and lead his new team to a victory over his old team. The front office made a big commitment to Jackson in the off-season, and he has yet to pitch anywhere near what they expected. Jackson technically has two quality starts in seven tries but anyone that watched those games know that both outings were anything but a quality start.
Darwin Barney snapped a 0-for-24 skid with a double in the ninth inning on Friday. Barney is not the only player that needs to start producing at the plate. Alfonso Soriano quickly cooled off following his two home run performance last Saturday against the Reds … and the team as a whole needs to relax with runners in scoring position and just play the game.
Today all begins with Edwin Jackson …
Edwin Jackson followed up what he called the worst start of his career against the Padres in which he allowed eight runs on 11 hits with two walks and six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings with a similar outing against the Reds his last time out. Jackson lasted only five innings and gave up four runs on eight hits with a walk and five strikeouts.
Jackson’s problems have moved past the one-bad-inning issue, and he really needs to step it up today.
Edwin Jackson has not beaten the Nationals in two tries during his career. This afternoon marks only the second time that Jackson will start a game against the Nats. Jackson does not have a record in two games, one start, and has allowed only one run on seven hits with four walks and nine strikeouts in eight innings.
While Edwin Jackson has struggled throughout his career at Wrigley Field (1-5 in seven starts with a 8.53 ERA and a 1.79 WHIP), Jackson has pitched very well at Nationals Park (6-6 in 15 starts with a 3.35 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP).
Jackson should face a lineup that includes Bryce Harper this afternoon, but not Jayson Werth. The Nationals are expected to place Werth on the DL before game time.
Nationals Career Numbers against Edwin Jackson
- Roger Bernadina – 0-for-3
- Ian Desmond – 0-for-2
- Danny Espinosa – 1-for-3
- Adam LaRoche – 0-for-3 with a walk
- Wilson Ramos – 0-for-3
- Denard Span – 5-for-13 with two walks
- Kurt Suzuki – 3-for-13 with two walks
- Chad Tracy – 3-for-3 with a double and two walks
- Jayson Werth – 2-for-7 with a double
- Ryan Zimmerman – 1-for-4
For a while the best 1-4 starting pitcher in baseball award belonged to Jeff Samardzija, but that title now belongs to Stephen Strasburg.
Strasburg has set the bar extremely high and he has not pitched to expectations so far this year. Strasburg is coming off a not-so-good-by-Strasburg-standards start against the Pirates in which he allowed four runs on five hits with a walk and eight strikeouts in seven inningd. After just a horrible outing on April 7 in Cincinnati, Strasburg has allowed more than three earned runs only twice. In seven starts this season, Strasburg has held opponents to two or fewer runs four times, three runs once and four runs in his last start.
Stephen Strasburg is 1-2 in three starts at Nationals Park this season with a 1.35 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP … if that is struggling, maybe his critics should re-evaluate their unrealistic expectations.
Strasburg makes his second career appearance against the Cubs this afternoon. Strasburg received a no decision on Opening Day 2012 at Wrigley. Strasburg allowed only one run on five hits with one walk and five strikeouts over seven innings.
To say the Cubs have their work cut out for themselves this afternoon would be an understatement.
Darwin Barney (0-for-3), Starlin Castro (1-for-3), David DeJesus (3-for-6), Alfonso Soriano (1-for-3), Ryan Sweeney (1-for-2) and Luis Valbuena (0-for-2) have limited at bats during their career against Stephen Strasburg.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …