Game Sixty-Four: Cubs (44-19) vs. Nationals (40-25)
- Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: WGN-TV – Radio: WSCR 670 The Score, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 187, 844
- Location – Nationals Park, Washington DC
Jason Hammel, RHP (7-2, 2.36/1.10/3.68) vs. Stephen Strasburg, RHP (10-0, 3.03/1.07/2.76)
The Cubs square off against the Nationals for the final time in the regular season this afternoon. After sweeping the four-game series at Wrigley, a win today in the rubber game at Nationals Park would not only make for a happy flight, but would give the Cubs a 6-1 record against one of the best teams in the game.
Jason Hammel gets the ball today and will have to keep the Nationals in check while his teammates figure out Stephen Strasburg. Hammel has had a lot of success against the Nationals in his career. When Hammel faces the Nats, especially at Nationals Park, the start he made two years ago on July 4 always comes to mind. Hammel was in the middle of a good outing but was pulled early and traded, along with Jeff Samardzija, later in the day to Oakland for a package of players including Addison Russell and another that helped the Cubs acquire Dexter Fowler.
Joe Maddon talked Tuesday about giving Dexter Fowler a day off which could lead to Albert Almora Jr. making his first start in center field. Maddon should run out a lineup tilted to the right side based on Stephen Strasburg’s splits (right-handers: .241/.295/.365/.660; left-handers: .190/.247/.306/.553).
Today is Dusty Baker’s 67th birthday. The Cubs should look to celebrate it with a little Meat Loaf on the flight home. The Cubs nine-game, three-city road trip (5-3) comes to an end this afternoon with the last of three at Nationals Park.
Today all starts with Jason Hammel …
Jason Hammel’s last outing did not go as expected. Hammel bounced back from leaving the start against the Dodgers with a cramp in his right hamstring with an excellent game against the Diamondbacks. Hammel pitched through the rain at Wrigley and made one mistake in seven innings.
Hammel left a couple of pitches up in the zone to the light-hitting Braves last Friday and it cost him two runs in a 5-1 loss in Atlanta. Hammel completed 5 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on eight hits (two home runs) with no walks and four strikeouts.
Hammel is 1-1 in his last two starts with a 3.55 ERA and 0.87 WHIP and outside of Wrigley this season, Hammel is 4-2 in seven starts with a 2.57 ERA and 1.07 WHIP.
Jason Hammel received a no-decision in his start against the Nationals last month at Wrigley Field. Hammel allowed three runs on four hits with four walks and three strikeouts in five innings. For his career, Hammel is 9-0 in 12 starts against the Nationals with a 3.16 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. At Nationals Park, Hammel is 6-0 in seven starts with a 3.02 ERA and 1.07 WHIP.
Nationals Career Numbers against Jason Hammel
- Ryan Zimmerman: 12-for-38 with three doubles, one home run and two walks
- Stephen Drew: 4-for-20 with three walks
- Jayson Werth: 3-for-16 with one home run and two walks
- Bryce Harper: 2-for-14 with one home run and two walks
- Danny Espinosa: 3-for-10 with one double and three walks
- Daniel Murphy: 6-for-12 with two doubles and one walk
- Wilson Ramos: 3-for-9 with two home runs and two walks
- Anthony Rendon: 2-for-11 with one double
- Chris Heisey: 1-fofr-5 with one triple
- Ben Revere: 1-for-5 with one double
- Jose Lobaton: 1-for-2 with one double
- Clint Robinson: 1-for-3
These Cubs get their first look at Stephen Strasburg this afternoon. The Cubs missed the right-hander last month at Wrigley. Strasburg makes the fourth start of his career against the Cubs.
Stephen Strasburg has some of the best stuff in baseball. And when he’s on, he’s on and it can be an extremely frustrating day for opposition. Strasburg is obviously really good but he can get rattled and that leads to runs. The Cubs are going to strikeout a lot today. But there should be plenty of opportunities to score runs.
Strasburg is 1-0 in his last two starts with a 5.11 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. And at Nationals Park this year, Strasburg is 5-0 in seven starts with a 3.78 ERA and 1.05 WHIP.
Stephen Strasburg is 0-1 in three career starts against the Cubs with a 2.18 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. Strasburg has not started a game against the Cubs since the 2013 season.
Cubs Career Numbers against Stephen Strasburg
- Jason Heyward: 14-for-34 with three doubles, one home run and three walks
- Miguel Montero: 2-for-12 with four walks
- Chris Coghlan: 0-for-12 with two walks
- Dexter Fowler: 3-for-9 with one triple
- Anthony Rizzo: 2-for-7
- Ben Zobrist: 0-for-3
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …