Series Preview: Cubs vs. Nationals

The Chicago Cubs have their own problems moving forward, namely not to lose 100 games under Theo Epstein’s first year in control of the club. The Cubs’ next opponent, however, has a much more consequential situation of its own to figure out in the next couple of weeks. Stephen Strasburg started Sunday for the Washington Nationals, and while he won’t oppose Chicago in this series, he’s nearing his innings pitched limit for the season and only has one or two more starts before the Nationals shut him down. The question Washington now faces is, do they in fact shut Strasburg down for the rest of the season, or bring him back for the playoffs? Meanwhile, the Cubs will start bringing up guys from their system to give them big league playing time with the September rosters expanding. Check out Midway Madness’ own Lauren Comitor as she tells us which Cubs’ call-ups to watch for in this final month of the season.

Game 1 (Monday, 12:05 p.m. CST)

Jeff Samardzija (8-12, 4.03 ERA) vs. Ross Detwiler (8-6, 3.32)

Game 1 (Tuesday, 6:05 p.m. CST)

Chris Rusin (0-1, 1.80) vs. Edwin Jackson (8-9, 3.53)

Game 3 (Wednesday, 6:05 p.m. CST)

Chris Volstad (2-9, 6.06) vs. Gio Gonzalez (17-7, 3.10)

Game 4 (Thursday, 6:05 p.m. CST)

Justin Germano (2-5, 5.52) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (9-8, 3.01)

Series Studs (last series)

CHC: It’s hard to find any Cubs players now that have consistent success in a series but Anthony Rizzo is the closest. Despite a hitless effort in the series finale, Rizzo was 2-4 in the first two games with a solo home run in the opener.

WSH: The Nationals starters opened up the series with St. Louis with back-to-back ace performances. Edwin Jackson went eight innings and allowed just one run on four hits. He struck out 10 and only dealt two walks in the winning effort. The next night, Gio Gonzalez took the mound for Washington and delivered an even more impressive start. He threw a complete game shutout, allowing only five hits while striking out eight to earn his 17th win of the season, putting him in a four-way tie for wins leaders in all of baseball this season.

Series Duds (last series)

CHC: Starlin Castro is still having issues at the plate, as he went 1-11 in the weekend series with the San Francisco Giants. Granted the Cubs had to face some strong starters from San Francisco, but that excuse will get old when the Cubs are contenders and will have to beat great starters to advance in October. Castro’s offseason workout needs to consist of more time in the cage.

WSH: The Nationals threw their aces to the Cardinals in their four-game set. But while three had successful outings, the offense of St. Louis in game three pounded Jordan Zimmermann. He lasted just 3 2/3 innings, surrendering eight earned run,s including two two-run home runs and only striking out three.

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