Game One Hundred Twenty-Eight: Cubs (78-49) vs. Nationals (45-83)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jason Marquis (8-7, 4.67/1.44) vs. John Lannan (6-12, 3.81/1.34)
After winning two of three from the Reds to start the homestand, Lou Piniella’s crew will welcome the Washington Nationals to Wrigley today for the first of three. The Nationals won the 3-game series against the Cubs in D.C., with today’s starter John Lannan posting a shutout win in the third game against Ted Lilly.
The Nationals snapped a 12-game losing streak on Thursday night with a win in Philadelphia. The 12-game skid was the longest since 1976 when the franchise was still north of the border and known as the Montreal Expos. While the Nationals might be the owner of the worst record in the National League, they must not be taken for granted this weekend. The Cubs appeared to let up in the series against the Reds and must regain the intensity they had on the road trip last week.
The last time these two teams met it was April 25th and the Cubs were 8 games over .500 at 15-7 while the Nationals were 7-16 and if not for Carlos Zambrano, the Nationals could have swept the series. The most memorable moment from the last weekend in April was ‘The Catch‘ by Reed Johnson. Johnson should be in the starting lineup for the next two games with Manny Acta sending two southpaws to the hill. Jason Marquis is coming off a solid win in the first game of the day-night double header Wednesday. Marquis held the Braves to 2 runs on 6 hits in 5 1/3 innings and started the road trip and day with a solid win. Marquis struggled with his command early on but settled in and ate up a few innings for his manager.
Marquis has won his last two starts after a winless July. Marquis has actually pitched well of late and has allowed more than 4 runs in a single start only once since June 26th….and has held teams to 3 runs or fewer in 5 of his last 7 games.
Marquis is 2-1 in 3 starts this month with a 4.58 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP but only 6 earned runs in his last 2 starts (11 2/3 innings).
Marquis did not face the Nationals back in April in D.C. and is 3-4 in 18 career games, 10 starts, against the Nationals/Expos franchise with a 3.57 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP….at home this season, Marquis is 4-4 in 12 starts with a 5.68 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP.
- Ronnie Belliard – 3-for-7 with a home run
- Christian Guzman – 1-for-10
- Willie Harris – 1-for-4
- Austin Kearns – 8-for-19 with 2 home runs
- Lastings Milledge – 2-for-2 with a double
- Ryan Zimmerman – 2-for-6 with a home run
The Cubs will face southpaw John Lannan for the second time this season. Lannan is the best 6-12 pitcher in the league and the best starter on the Nationals staff. Not only did Lannan shutout the Cubs back on April 27th at Nationals Park but he has put together similar outings against other teams all season. Lannan’s biggest issue has been consistency.
For example, Lannan allowed 1 unearned run in 6 unbelievable innings against the Brewers in Milwaukee on August 10th. Lannan shutdown the high-powered Brewers’ offense and allowed only 1 hit with 5 walks and 6 strikeouts. In his last start, Lannan surrendered 8 runs on 7 hits in 4 innings with 4 walks and 2 strikeouts at home against the Rockies.
Lannan will be making his first career start at Wrigley and they must make him work. In his last three starts he has walked 11 batters in 17 innings with 16 strikeouts. Lannan is in his first full big league season and could be running out of gas. The Cubs must run up his pitch count and get into the Nationals bullpen as soon as possible.
After posting a sub-3 ERA in April and ERA just over 4 in May and ERA’s in the mid-3s in June and July, Lannan is 0-1 in his last 3 starts with a 5.29 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP.
Lannan has actually been much better on the road this season than at home. He is 4-5 in 14 starts with a 2.40 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP….at home, 2-7 in 10 starts with a 6.27 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP. The Cubs’ offense must not make it easy for the talented southpaw.
As mentioned Lannan beat the Cubs 2-0 back on April 27th in D.C. and surrendered only 4 hits (2 walks and 2 strikeouts) in a 2-0 win over the Cubs and Ted Lilly.
- Henry Blanco – 1-for-3
- Ronny Cedeno – 1-for-3
- Mark DeRosa – 0-for-3
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-3 with a double
- Reed Johnson – 1-for-3
- Derrek Lee – 0-for-2
- Aramis Ramirez – 0-for-3
- Ryan Theriot – 0-for-2
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….