Game Sixty-Two: Cubs (43-18) vs. Nationals (39-24)
- Game Time – 6:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet, ESPN – Radio: WSCR 670 The Score, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 184, 844
- Location – Nationals Park, Washington DC
Kyle Hendricks, RHP (4-5, 2.90/0.93/3.04) vs. Max Scherzer, RHP (7-4, 3.57/1.05/3.96)
Two of the top teams in the National League begin a three-game series tonight in the Nation’s Capital. It’s the Cubs versus the Nationals, and round two of Joe vs. Dusty.
The two NL Heavyweights will duke it out for the next three days. The Nationals were not happy with Joe Maddon and the walk-a-thon Bryce Harper had at Wrigley Field last month (May 5-8) during the four-game series. The Cubs swept the series, ticked off the Nationals and Harper has not been the same offensive threat since.
The Nationals will be out to prove the sweep was a fluke and setup what could be an interesting series in October should the two teams meet in the playoffs. Baker’s team enters play tonight 4 ½ games ahead of the struggling Mets in the NL East.
While the Cubs get two of the best starters that Baker runs out every five days, the Nationals will not see either Jake Arrieta or Jon Lester.
After tonight’s matchup of Kyle Hendricks and Max Scherzer, John Lackey is scheduled to take on lefty Gio Gonzalez in game two on Tuesday night (6:05pm CDT). The series and season series with the Nationals wraps up Wednesday afternoon (3:05pm CDT) with Jason Hammel facing on Stephen Strasburg.
On name recognition, the series looks to heavily favor the Nationals but those that follow the game know otherwise.
Joe Maddon should fill his lineup tonight with as many left-handers as possible. Lefties are hitting .276/.372/.526 with a .898 OPS against Scherzer this season while righties have put together a .152/.167/.297 line with a .464 OPS.
Tonight all starts with Kyle Hendricks …
Joe Maddon said Hendricks’ stuff was really good against the Phillies in his last start. Maddon took Hendricks out after five innings and allowing two runs on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts. Maddon explained after the game the decision to take Hendricks out had more to do with needing offense than his performance.
For as much as Maddon tried to spin it, Hendricks was not as sharp has his previous outings. Hendricks could not find a rhythm and fell behind early and often in counts. Hendricks has set the bar high. He showed how good he could be against the Phillies and especially the Dodgers. The Cubs will need that Hendricks tonight to set the tone for the series.
Kyle Hendricks is 1-1 in his last two starts with a 2.77 ERA and 0.77 WHIP. And Hendricks faces the Nationals for the second time this season.
Hendricks pitched six innings of shutout ball against the Nationals on May 5 at Wrigley. Hendricks allowed two hits and two walks with four strikeouts. For as good as Hendricks has been this season, he has struggled on the road. Hendricks is 1-4 in five starts outside of Wrigley with a 4.23 ERA and 1.19 WHIP (13 runs, 23 hits, 10 walks, 23 strikeouts, 27 2/3 innings).
Kyle Hendricks is 2-0 in three career starts against the Nationals with a 1.50 ERA and 0.89 WHIP … and at Nationals Park, Hendricks owns a 1-0 record in one start with a 3.60 ERA and 1.20 WHIP.
Nationals Career Numbers against Kyle Hendricks
- Daniel Murphy: 2-for-10 with one double and one home run
- Bryce Harper: 2-for-7 with one home run and two walks
- Wilson Ramos: 0-for-7
- Anthony Rendon: 0-for-6
- Ryan Zimmerman: 0-for-6
- Michael Taylor: 1-for-5 with one double
- Danny Espinosa: 0-for-3
- Chris Heisey: 0-for-2 with one walk
- Jayson Werth: 0-for-2
- Clint Robinson: 1-for-1
The Cubs get their second look of the season at Max Scherzer. The Cubs figured out a way to beat Scherzer back on May 6. Scherzer, like the rest of his teammates, will be out to shut the Cubs down tonight. The Cubs will see a much-different Max Scherzer than the one they scored seven runs and hit four home runs against in five innings at Wrigley.
Max Scherzer is 2-0 in his last two starts with a 1.20 ERA and 0.87 WHIP. Scherzer is 2-1 in four starts at Nationals Park this season with a 4.50 ERA And 1.18 WHIP.
For his career, Scherzer is 1-1 in four starts against the Cubs with a 3.75 ERA and 1.33 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Max Scherzer
- Ben Zobrist: 5-for-22 with three home runs and four walks
- Dexter Fowler: 4-for-19 with one double
- David Ross: 3-for-13 with two doubles
- Jason Heyward: 4-for-8 with one double and one walk
- Kris Bryant: 0-for-5 with one walk
- Chris Coghlan: 0-for-5
- Anthony Rizzo: 2-for-5 with one home run and one walk
- Miguel Montero: 1-for-4
- Javier Baez: 0-for-3
- Tim Federowicz: 1-for-3 with one double
- Addison Russell: 1-for-3
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …