Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals Preview, Wednesday 8/10, 7:05 CT: Honoring Ron Santo

For today's game preview, I'm going to post a portion of the tribute I wrote to Ron Santo for this year's Maple Street Press Cubs annual. It's the way I felt watching Ron play as a kid, and listening to him reflect all our feelings as a broadcaster.

I grew up watching Ron and Billy, and Ernie and Glenn and Don and Randy and Fergie, come achingly close to the promised land of a World Series. I admired Billy’s classy demeanor and outstanding play, and he was my favorite player as a kid. But no one played the game with more passion than Ron Santo; that was clear with every dive for a ball, every home run trot, even every strikeout – and especially the heel-kicks after wins, something that wasn’t done in that era and was seen by opponents as showing them up.

It wasn’t. It was just exuberant Ron Santo showing his love of the Cubs, of the game, of winning.

That was reflected not just in the way Ron played, but in the way he lived his life -- to the fullest. While it's sad that he isn't here to see the statue in his honor unveiled this afternoon, it is a lasting tribute to him and his family, a permanent reminder of what he meant to all our lives.

A win today in Ron's memory would be nice. You can watch the ceremony streamed live at wgntv.com at 5:30 p.m. CT.

Cubs lineup was not available at posting time. Aramis Ramirez was taking grounders to see if he was fit to play. I'll tweet the lineup when it comes out.

Nationals lineup:

Ankiel cf, Espinosa 2b, Zimmerman 3b, Morse 1b, Werth rf, Gomes lf, Desmond ss, Flores c, Detwiler p
Today's Starting Pitchers
Rodrigo Lopez
Rodrigo Lopez
Cubs
vs. Ross Detwiler
Ross Detwiler
Nationals
2-3 W-L 1-1
5.17 ERA 2.66
22 SO 11
13 BB 8
6 HR 1
vs. Wash -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Rodrigo Lopez 2-3 17 7 0 0 0 0 47.0 57 30 27 6 13 22 5.17 1.49


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Ross Detwiler 1-1 7 2 0 0 0 0 20.1 18 7 6 1 8 11 2.66 1.28

Rodrigo Lopez has not faced the Nats since August 2, 2010, when he was with the Diamondbacks. It was one of his better starts last year. His last two starts this year have been pretty bad. Current Nats hit him pretty hard: 20-for-63 (.317) with four home runs, two by Jonny Gomes, who is 10-for-23 (.435) lifetime against RoLo. Clearly, we are doomed.

Ross Detwiler started against the Cubs on July 5 in Washington and gave up two runs in five innings in a Nats win. It's his only career start vs. the Cubs. Aramis Ramirez homered off him that day.

Today's game is on WGN 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 7:05 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 8 pm, 9 pm and 9:45 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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