Cubs vs. Nationals Preview, Sunday 5/12, 12:35 CT: A Road Series Win?

USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs played a solid game in every way Saturday. Can they make it two in a row?

The Cubs have won two road series this year -- the opening series at Pittsburgh and one at Miami. So that's 5-2 in those two series, 2-9 in other road games.

Nevertheless, there's another opportunity for a road series win this afternoon in Washington. The Cubs haven't won a series in Washington since 2010, and are 2-8 in Nationals Park since 2011, and the Nats are 12-8 at home this year.

That doesn't sound too promising, does it? Still... a win today would mean a winning "road trip", too, since this is a one-stop trip, three games.

Luis Valbuena, who jammed a finger sliding into third base Saturday, has no broken bones and is (as are we all) day-to-day. He's available to pinch-hit today. Never thought I'd say this, but the Cubs will miss his hitting -- he's been one of the team's best offensive players so far this season.

Cubs lineup:

Castro SS, Ransom 3B, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, Hairston RF, Sweeney CF, Navarro C, Barney 2B, Feldman P

Nationals lineup:

Span CF, Lombardozzi LF, Harper RF, Zimmerman 3B, LaRoche 1B, Desmond SS, Espinosa 2B, Suzuki C, Gonzalez P

Today's Starting Pitchers

Scott Feldman

Scott Feldman


Cubs

vs. Gio Gonzalez

Gio Gonzalez


Nationals

vs. Was

--

vs. Cubs


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Scott Feldman 3-3 6 6 1 0 0 0 36.2 27 18 11 5 14 27 2.70 1.12


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Gio Gonzalez 3-2 7 7 0 0 0 0 38.0 31 21 21 5 20 41 4.97 1.34

Scott Feldman, who has been outstanding in his last three starts (1.59 ERA in 22⅔ innings, 0.71 WHIP, three wins), has never faced the Nationals. Kurt Suzuki (5-for-17) and Denard Span (4-for-14) are the only Nats with any significant experience against him, from their time in the American League. Maybe this will work in the Cubs' favor, for once.

Gio Gonzalez faced the Cubs twice last year. He got hit pretty hard in April at Wrigley Field, but threw seven shutout innings against them in September in Washington. Gonzalez is off to a rough start and has alternated good outings with bad ones. If that holds, this one should be a bad one. (Yes, I know that doesn't usually work.) Current Cubs are hitting .315 (23-for-73) against him with three home runs. Maybe we're not doomed today.

Today's game is on WGN.

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.

Here's the scoop on game threads for 2013. You'll find the game preview -- like this one -- posting as the first link in the StoryStream™, which will then contain all the overflow threads and the recap. The recap will also be on the front page as a separate post; once I post a game recap, the stream for each game will be retitled "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.

In general, game previews will post two hours before game time. Exception: for day games after night games, that will usually be 90 minutes.

You will also be able to find the First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in this StoryStream™. As I've done for each regular-season game for several years now, we'll have the First Pitch thread at five minutes before game time (moved up from actual game time per your requests), then an overflow one hour, two hours and 2:45 after game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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