Game Twenty-Seven: Cubs (20-6) vs. Nationals (19-8)
- Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus – Radio: WSCR 670 The Score, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 185, 844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Kyle Hendricks (1-2, 3.52/1.04/2.49) vs. Joe Ross (3-0, 0.79/0.97/2.88)
The Cubs return to Wrigley after completing a three-game sweep in Pittsburgh and open a 10-game homestand (Nationals, Padres, Pirates) with the first of four against one of the best teams in baseball, the Washington Nationals.
Dusty Baker has his team playing very good ball with an excellent pitching staff led by Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer and an offense that arguably includes the best player in the game, NL MVP Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy. The Nationals can put runs on the board in bunches and should receive a boost with the return of Ben Revere.
Chris Bosio and Mike Borzello have the tough task of installing a game plan over the next four days to limit Harper, Murphy and the Nationals while the Cubs offense figures out Mike Maddux’s pitching staff.
After tonight’s match-up of Kyle Hendricks and Joe Ross, John Lackey gets the start on Friday afternoon (1:20pm CDT) against Max Scherzer. Jason Hammel faces lefty Gio Gonzalez on Saturday (3:05pm CDT) and the series wraps on Mother’s Day (1:20pm CDT) with Jake Arrieta taking on Tanner Roark.
The Cubs were 4-3 in the seven games versus the Nationals a year ago. The Cubs make their annual rip to Nationals Park next month (June 13-15).
This series has more than its fair share of storylines from Dusty Baker’s return to Wrigley to Kris Bryant and Bryce Harper. Bottom line for the Cubs is to shut out the noise and find a way to win a series against a very good team.
Tonight all starts with Kyle Hendricks …
Kyle Hendricks was pushed back due to the rain last week and has not pitched since April 26. Hendricks was lifted in the fifth inning for a pinch-hitter with Joe Maddon looking for a way to score runs on a challenging night at Wrigley. Hendricks had a solid outing. In five innings, Hendricks allowed one run on two hits to the Brewers with a walk and four strikeouts. The Cubs won the game 4-3 and the team is 2-2 in his four starts.
Hendricks has allowed 11 runs, nine earned, on 20 hits with four walks and 19 strikeouts this season in 23 innings.
Tonight is Hendricks’ third career start against the Nationals. Hendricks faced Harper and the Nationals twice a year ago and was 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 1.00 WHIP.
Nationals Career Numbers against Kyle Hendricks
- Daniel Murphy: 2-for-8 with one double and one home run
- Bryce Harper: 1-for-6 with one home run
- Wilson Ramos: 0-for-5
- Matt den Dekker: 1-for-2 with one walk
- Chris Heisey: 0-for-2 with one walk
- Anthony Rendon: 0-for-3
- Ryan Zimmerman: 0-for-3
- Danny Espinosa: 0-for-2
- Michael Taylor: 0-for-2
- Clint Robinson: 1-for-1
The Cubs get their second look at a very good young right-hander. Joe Ross made his big league debut against the Cubs last season at Nationals Park (June 6). Ross is the younger brother of Padres’ starter Tyson Ross. A family the Cubs’ front office knows very well.
Joe Ross has dominated the Marlins, Cardinals in Phillies in his four starts this season. Ross is coming off a win in St. Louis. Ross held the Redbirds to one run on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts in six innings.
Three of Ross’ four starts this season have been on the road. Ross is 2-0 with a 0.57 ERA and 0.96 WHIP outside of Nationals Park. Ross makes his first appearance at Wrigley Field.
Joe Ross took the loss last June against the Cubs. Ross allowed three runs on six hits with no walks and four strikeouts in five innings.
Cubs Career Numbers against Joe Ross
- Kris Bryant: 1-for-3
- Dexter Fowler: 2-for-3
- Anthony Rizzo: 2-for-3 with one double
- Jason Heyward: 0-for-1 with one walk
- Addison Russell: 0-for-2
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …