Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals Preview, Tuesday 7/5, 6:05 CT: The Ramon Ortiz Era Begins

Darwin Barney of the Chicago Cubs throws to first during a game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 4, 2011 in Washington, DC. There appears to be a Walgreens very close to second base. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)

There's really nothing more to be said about Ramon Ortiz's presence on the Cubs roster that hasn't already been said.

Wait, yes there is. This is even worse than giving Rodrigo Lopez and Doug Davis starts. At least both of those guys are still in the 35-and-under category.

Ramon Ortiz is 38. Thirty-eight. When he takes the mound tonight in Washington, he will be the oldest member of the Cubs -- by three years. Outside of 16 pretty bad appearances for the Dodgers last year, he hasn't pitched in the majors since 2007. And he wasn't any good then. In fact, he hasn't had a good year since he was part of the Angels' World Series title team in 2002, which is really his only good major league season. And even then, he led the AL in home runs allowed with 40.

The scary part is that Ortiz had the best record of anyone on the Iowa staff. But does that mean he's got to be the next guy? We already know that the Cubs are 5-21 in games started by Davis, Lopez, James Russell and Casey Coleman. That accounts for all of the team's deficit below .500. To me, this is just throwing another game away. Pull someone out of Double-A who the other guys have never seen before -- at least, that seems to work when other teams do it to the Cubs.

Cubs lineup:

RF Johnson, 2B Baker, 3B Ramirez, C Soto, LF Soriano, CF Byrd, 1B Pena, SS Barney, P Ortiz

So let me get this straight. The Cubs are facing a lefty who's spent all year in the minors, the perfect time to get Starlin Castro back in the leadoff spot. Instead, he gets the day off.

Nationals lineup:

Bernadina LF, Espinosa 2B, Zimmerman 3B, Nix 1B, Werth RF, Ankiel CF, Ramos C, Desmond SS, Detwiler P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Ramon Ortiz
Ramon Ortiz
Cubs
vs. Ross Detwiler
Ross Detwiler
Nationals
making W-L making
his ERA his
2011 SO 2011
season BB season
debut HR debut
vs. Wash -- vs. Cubs

In an odd coincidence, tonight's matchup features two pitchers who are both major league veterans, but have spent this season pitching at Triple-A. The only current Cub Ross Detwiler has faced is Carlos Pena (0-for-2). Ramon Ortiz has a bit more experience against current Nationals; Ivan Rodriguez is 8-for-34 (three HR) and Matt Stairs is 4-for-13. Otherwise... who knows what we'll get from these two pitchers tonight?

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 overflow threads will post at 7 pm, 8 pm and 8:45 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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