Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cubs-Nationals Preview

It's false hope week at Wrigley Field, first up the Washington Nationals. The Nationals have actually been playing better baseball since the Cubs last played them, going 18-15 with an eight game winning streak in the middle of that run. Not great baseball, but not bad at all.

As is usual the Cubs have the pitching advantage in the series, but as usual it is all up to the offense.

Tuesday- Carlos Zambrano (7-4 3.35) vs. Garrett Mock (2-5 5.10)
The much maligned ace of the Chicago Cubs makes his return from the most hated DL trip in the history of baseball. Z has been spectacular this season, and the Nationals lineup should be a welcome sight for Z. 
Mock has some bad numbers, and has recently had issues getting through the fifth inning. The Cubs should be able to get to him eventually, but who knows with this team.

Wednesday- Rich Harden (8-7 4.04) vs. J.D. Martin (2-3 4.76)
Harden has been unreal in the second half, dominating every lineup he's faced. He is making a huge push for a big contract (damn it) and this game should be right in his wheelhouse since it's happening at night.
Martin is another guy with bad numbers, he has had some nice starts recently though. He is a bit homer prone- something that should benefit the homer dependent Cubs. 

Thursday- Randy Wells (9-6 2.84) vs. TBA
Wells will continue his quest for the NL Rookie of the Year. He's already beaten the Nationals once this season, and his last start in LA was stellar against a very good Dodger offense. Hopefully Wells has another good start, and this time the Cubs offense gives him some run support. 
The Nationals send the always tough TBA to the mound. I'll assume he's a guy the Cubs haven't seen before, so he will probably have a good start.

Hitters to watch
Adam Dunn .288/.421/.586/1.007 33 HR 89 RBI 162 OPS+
Dunn is having the best season of his career in his first year for the Nationals. He will get yet another 40 homer season. Wrigley is his favorite place to hit, and I have no doubt he will get his homers in this series.

Ryan Zimmerman .301/.370/.531/.900 26 HR 85 RBI 133 OPS+
One of the best third basemen in the game Zimmerman is having another fine season for a really bad baseball team. He provides an excellent right handed hitting compliment to Adam Dunn to form a fearsome 3-4 combo.

Nyger Morgan .310/.371/.391/.762 40 SB 104 OPS+
Morgan has been an electric leadoff man since coming over from the Pirates. His 40 stolen bases make him a threat to Rich Harden and Randy Wells especially when he gets on base. Keeping Morgan off the bases will be key in this series. 

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