Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals Preview, Thursday 7/7, 6:05 CT: A Four-Game Sweep?

Here's how bad things are.

The Washington Nationals could sweep the Cubs in a four-game series by winning tonight. The last time the Nats swept a four-game series was the final four games of the 2009 season, when they swept a four-gamer from the Braves in Atlanta.

The last time that franchise swept a four-game series in its home park, it was known as the Montreal Expos and the home park was Estadio Hiram Bithorn in San Juan, Puerto Rico -- a four-game sweep of the Mets from April 11-14, 2003. Meanwhile, the Cubs were last swept in a four-game series last August 16-19 at Wrigley Field by the Padres. The Padres are also responsible for the Cubs' last four-game sweep on the road, from May 5-8, 2006.

It could happen tonight. Stay tuned. (If you dare.)

Cubs lineup:

Fukudome RF, Castro SS, Ramirez 3B, Peña 1B, Soto C, Byrd CF, Soriano LF, Barney 2B, Garza P

Castro batting 2nd > Castro batting 3rd.

Nationals lineup:

Bernadina LF, Espinosa 2B, Zimmerman 3B, Morse 1B, Werth RF, Ankiel CF, Rodriguez C, Desmond SS, Hernandez P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Matt Garza
Matt Garza
Cubs
vs. Livan Hernandez
Livan Hernandez
Nationals
4-7 W-L 5-8
3.77 ERA 3.73
95 SO 74
32 BB 33
7 HR 9
vs. Wash -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Matt Garza 4-7 15 15 1 0 0 0 93.0 86 47 39 7 32 95 3.77 1.27


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Livan Hernandez 5-8 19 18 1 1 0 0 115.2 123 53 48 9 33 74 3.73 1.35

Matt Garza is coming off his best start as a Cub, the nine-inning, one-run CG he threw in the loss to the White Sox last Saturday. That probably means doom, as you know. Garza has just one career start vs. the Nats, on June 12, 2009 in interleague play when he was with the Rays. Only one player who was on the Nats that day -- Ryan Zimmerman -- is even still on the team. The two Nats Garza has faced most -- Ivan Rodriguez and Matt Stairs -- are backups now. In short, who knows?

Livan Hernandez used to beat the Cubs like the proverbial drum. But last August 23, Mike Quade's first game as manager, the Cubs hit him hard, including a HR by Blake DeWitt. Aramis Ramirez, who is hot lately, hits him well: 12-for-35 (.343), three doubles, four HR. So maybe this won't be a sweep after all.

Today's game is on WGN and MASN2. 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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