Preview: Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals
Game time: 7:05pm EDT
TV: CSN, MASN2
The struggle pitching staff was unable to handle the resurrected Adam LaRoche and his fellow sluggers in the Washington Nationals lineup. The Chicago Cubs (51-85) need to put an end to it Thursday night to avoid being swept in the finale of the four-game series at Nationals Park.
The Cubs are still in search for their first victory in the month of September going 0-6.
Recent records show that tonight’s Cubs starter Justin Germano (2-5, 5.52) was a constant home run giver. The losing pitcher in his past three starts has given out long balls in four of his previous five outings except on September 1 when he took the loss by allowing five runs on six hits over five innings while striking two and walking two against the San Francisco Giants.
The right-hander’s only time facing the Nationals was over five years ago, dated June 2, 2007 when he played for the San Diego Padres. He beat the opponents by giving up three runs in six innings at Nationals Park.
The Nationals lineup will try once again to back their starter, Jordan Zimmermann (9-8, 3.01) who lost two outings in his last four starts. He had a short outing in his last start Saturday facing the St. Louis Cardinals at home where he gave up eight runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings. He got off the hook though and did not implicate in the game decision.
The right-hander faced the Cubs once in his season opener on April 8 this year. Although he surrendered only two runs (one earned) in seven frames, he took the loss in the Cubs’ 4-3 victory at Wrigley Field.
He is 0-3 with a 4.68 ERA in four career starts against Chicago.
The Washington Nationals (84-52) handed the Cubs a 9-1 lopsided defeat Wednesday night and hit a total of six long balls.
They slammed three off the Cubs starter Chris Volstad in the third inning. Lead-off Roger Bernardina and Bryce Harper hit back-to-back long balls. Ryan Zimmerman singled and LaRoche drove him in with his 28th of the year. In 2011, the first baseman only totaled three in 43 games.
In the sixth, Harper had his second in the game off reliever Michael Bowden, the rookie’s 17th of the year.
The Cubs suffered from two more dingers in the seventh. Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa launched long balls off Blake Parker; it was the second back-to-back of the game.
The Cubs were limited to four hits by southpaw starter Gio Gonzalez and reliever Craig Stammen and were struck out 11 times. The only consolation run for the Cubs was produced by Anthony Rizzo who homered off Stammen in the ninth.
By: Patrick Au Yeung