The Mike Quade Era Begins: Cubs vs. Nationals Preview, Monday 8/23, 6:05 CT

It's not likely this era is going to last more than 37 games, although bigger surprises than the idea that Mike Quade will be named Cubs manager in 2011 have happened. In any case, Quade gets the chance to show the organization what he can do over the season's final six weeks.

He's staring these numbers in the face: 17 and 19.

What are those?

They're the Cubs' mathematical elimination numbers. 17 for the NL Central, 19 for the Wild Card.

One thing Quade will not do -- at least for tonight -- that had been promised by Lou Piniella, is give Tyler Colvin some playing time at first base. Here is tonight's lineup via CubsInsider:

#Cubs lineup @ #Nationals (8/23): DeWitt 2B, Castro SS, Byrd CF, Ramirez 3B, Nady 1B, Colvin RF, Soriano LF, Soto C, Coleman P

I don't get it. Geovany Soto has been reactivated and Welington Castillo returned to Iowa; also, the Cubs sent Sam Fuld to Iowa and recalled Micah Hoffpauir. But why not Colvin at 1B and Kosuke Fukudome in RF? There's the first question Quade's likely to be asked. DeWitt leading off -- also an interesting choice. Meanwhile, the Nats will line up this way:

#Nationals lineup vs. #Cubs - Morgan 8, Kennedy 4, Zim 5, Dunn 3, Bernie 7, Pudge 2, Harris 9, Gonzalez 6, Hernandez 1

I received an email from Ted Youngling at the Nats Blog asking me to answer a few questions about the Cubs (and one about Stephen Strasburg) in advance of this series. Here are the questions and answers. With all the breaking news regarding the Cubs manager's position the last couple of days, I didn't have time to send Ted any similar questions about the Nats.

I'm guessing yours would have started with the name "Adam Dunn".

Today's Starting Pitchers
Casey Coleman
Casey Coleman
Cubs
vs. Livan Hernandez
Livan Hernandez
Nationals
0-1 W-L 8-8
7.82 ERA 3.06
6 SO 84
8 BB 50
1 HR 10
vs. Wash -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Casey Coleman 0-1 5 1 0 0 0 0 12.2 16 11 11 1 8 6 7.82 1.89


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Livan Hernandez 8-8 27 25 2 1 0 0 164.2 158 59 56 10 50 84 3.06 1.26

The Cubs' longest winning streak of the year is four games. I mention this because it was snapped by Livan Hernandez the last time he faced the Cubs, at Wrigley Field on April 27. Hernandez just kills the Cubs and has for years. In 21 career starts vs. the Cubs, he is 11-6 with a 3.84 ERA and 1.33 WHIP, both significantly better than his career averages. On August 11, 2001, when he was with the Giants, he went 4-for-4 against the Cubs with a home run and three RBI; he's a .222 lifetime hitter with nine career HR. Only Aramis Ramirez has hit him well: 12-for-32 (.375) with three doubles and four HR.

Casey Coleman is making his second major league start; obviously, he has never faced the Nationals. Small sample size: Coleman has a 10.24 ERA in 9.2 innings at Wrigley Field, an 0.00 ERA in 3 innings on the road. But, he has a 5.40 ERA in 8.1 day-game innings and a 12.46 ERA in 4.1 night-game innings. In short, who the heck knows?

Today's game is on CSN Chicago and MASN. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Nationals site Federal Baseball.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 6 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 7 pm, 8 pm and 8:45 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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