Game Forty-Four: Cubs (24-19) vs. Nationals (26-18)
- Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: WGN-TV Ch. 9 – Radio: WBBM 780, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 186, 844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Tsuyoshi Wada (0-0, 3.86/1.07/3.35) vs. Tanner Roark (0-2, 2.66/1.38/4.46)
Happy Memorial Day!
Weather permitting … The Cubs open a six-game homestand with the first of three against the red hot Washington Nationals. By Sunday, the Cubs will have a good idea of where they stand against the best in baseball. The Nationals have taken over first place in the NL East after winning 19 of 24 and the Royals are considered the top team in the American League.
The Cubs also begin a stretch today of 12 of 15 games against teams that played in the post-season a year ago (three at Wrigley against the Nationals, three with the Royals, four in D.C. with the Nationals, and two in Detroit).
The Cubs won three of seven (3-4) against the Nationals last year. And the Cubs will see the top two starters in the Nationals staff over the next three days.
After this afternoon’s match-up of Tsuyoshi Wada and Tanner Roark, Kyle Hendricks matches up with Jordan Zimmermann in primetime Tuesday night on ESPN. The series wraps Wednesday night with Jon Lester opposing Max Scherzer.
David Ross is behind the plate today, and will get two starts in the series with Lester on the hill Wednesday. Ross is going to see more playing time with Welington Castillo now in Seattle. It will be interesting to see if Joe Maddon starts adjusting his batting order to accommodate the potential lack of offense with Ross in the lineup.
The Cubs are 13-8 at Wrigley this season and must continue taking care of business at home. The schedule leading up to the All-Star break is less than favorable and it will take a similar level of play to keep pace with the Cardinals.
This afternoon all starts with Tsuyoshi Wada …
Tsuyoshi Wada gets another start today, his second in the majors this season. Wada shut down the Padres the first time through the lineup the last time out. Seven of Wada’s nine strikeouts were to the first nine batters he faced, five looking. The Padres squared up Wada the second time through and Maddon lifted him before San Diego got a third look. Wada lasted 4 2/3 innings and Maddon pointed to him being out of gas after running the bases in the top of the fifth as the reason his outing was cut short. Wada has to pitch at least into the sixth inning each time out or the Cubs will have to find another solution for the rotation.
Wada made eight starts at Wrigley Field last season. Wada was 4-1 with a 2.91 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. And he gets his first look at the Washington Nationals, at least in the regular season, this afternoon.
Yunel Escobar (1-for-2) is the only player on the Nationals active roster that has faced Tsuyoshi Wada in a big league game that counts.
Tanner Roark makes his first start of the season. Roark was sent to the bullpen in the off-season after the Nationals signed Max Scherzer. Roark was 15-10 in 31 starts a year ago with a 2.85 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. As a reliever this season, Roark is 0-2 in 13 appearances with a 2.66 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. Roark has given up six runs on 23 hits with five walks and seven strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings.
The Wilmington, IL product makes his fourth appearance, third start, against the Cubs. Roark is 1-2 in the first three games with a 6.14 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP. Last season, Roark was 0-2 in two starts against the Cubs with a 5.54 RA and a 1.62 WHIP (eight runs on 19 hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in 13 innings). And at Wrigley Field, Roark is 1-1 in two games, one start, with a 7.04 ERA and a 1.96 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Tanner Roark
- Chris Coghlan: 5-for-10 with one double
- Starlin Castro: 0-for-7
- Anthony Rizzo: 1-for-7
- Mike Baxter: 1-for-3
- Dexter Fowler: 1-for-3
- Miguel Montero: 0-for-3
- Junior Lake: 0-for-1
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …