Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals Preview, Monday 8/8, 7:05 CT: An Anniversary

Starlin Castro of the Chicago Cubs is congratulated by Tony Campana after hitting a home run against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

23 years ago tonight, the Phillies and Cubs were scheduled to play the first night game in Wrigley Field's history. They managed to make it to within six outs (through the top of the fourth inning) of an official game, with the Cubs leading 3-1, before a torrential downpour forced the game's postponement. Thus the first official night game in Wrigley history was played the next night against the Mets, with the Cubs winning 6-4.

I mention this because if you're younger than about 30, you probably have no memory of the Cubs playing all day games at home, and the night games at Wrigley feel "normal" to you. I like day baseball, but night games, now about 30 per year, are just another common Wrigley Field occurrence. It may be in the future that the number of night games could be upped to around 40, which would be fine with me. As I said, I like day games. But modern baseball requires much of the schedule to be played at night.

Just a couple of thoughts about an era gone by, as the Cubs play a night game on the anniversary of "8/8/88", which would have been a fine day to remember the first Wrigley night game. If only the rain had held off for another 30 minutes or so.

Cubs lineup:

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

Nationals lineup:

Ankiel CF, Espinosa 2B, Zimmerman 3B, Morse 1B, Werth RF, Gomes LF, Desmond SS, Ramos C, Wang P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Matt Garza
Matt Garza
Cubs
vs. Chien-Ming Wang
Chien-Ming Wang
Nationals
5-8 W-L 0-2
3.78 ERA 6.00
129 SO 2
46 BB 2
9 HR 1
vs. Was -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Matt Garza 5-8 21 21 1 0 0 0 128.2 121 63 54 9 46 129 3.78 1.30


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Chien-Ming Wang 0-2 2 2 0 0 0 0 9.0 15 12 6 1 2 2 6.00 1.89

Matt Garza started against the Nationals on July 7 in Washington. The Cubs wound up winning the game, but not because of the way Garza pitched. Matt was outstanding in his last start, last Wednesday in Pittsburgh, and he has a 2.70 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 11 starts at Wrigley Field. Current Nationals are hitting .370 (13-for-35) against him, but most of that was from that awful outing in DC in July.

You might think, that since Chien-Ming Wang spent his entire career with the Yankees, and missed quite a bit of time before this year, that he had never faced the Cubs. But you would be wrong -- he threw eight solid innings against them for New York on June 18, 2005. (Boxscore for amusement value only.) Among current Cubs, the one who's faced him most is, as you might expect, Carlos Pena: 6-for-16 (.375), three doubles, one HR. Wang has not pitched well in his two starts since returning to the major leagues (15 hits, only 2 K in nine innings, 9.00 ERA).

Today's game is on CSN Chicago Plus ("check local listings") 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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