Cubs vs. Nationals Preview, Sunday 7/6, 12:35 CT

What is Rick Renteria thinking? Write your own caption. - Rob Carr

The Cubs still have a chance to win a road series in the finale in Washington.

Well, yesterday's game wasn't good, probably the worst showing by a Cubs team this year. With Jake Arrieta, the team's best starter in June, going today, I'd expect a better game.

The winner of this game takes the season series between the two clubs, which also ends today. Each team has won three from the other so far this year, which is really just the last nine days, since the entire season series between the Cubs and Nats has been played since June 27.

If you haven't seen Jeff Samardzija's first news conference with the Athletics, you can watch it here. He's scheduled to start against the Blue Jays today in a game that will begin at 3:05 CT, a time that's likely to be shortly before the Cubs game ends, so you'll have a chance to follow both.

I wish Shark luck. You'll hear some hints in the news conference that he's very happy to be out of "rebuild" and on a first-place team.

Cubs lineup:

Sweeney LF, Ruggiano CF, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Valbuena 3B, Schierholtz RF, Baker C, Barney 2B, Arrieta P

Nationals lineup:

Span CF, Rendon 2B, Werth RF, LaRoche 1B, Zimmerman 3B, Harper LF, Desmond SS, Ramos C, Zimmermann P

Today's Starting Pitchers

Jake Arrieta

Jake Arrieta


Cubs

vs. Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann


Nationals

vs. Was

--

vs. Cubs

Over his last five starts covering 34⅔ innings, Jake Arrieta has a 0.78 ERA and 0.49 WHIP and has walked just three batters while striking out 49. That's... otherworldly. There's a case to be made that he's All-Star worthy despite missing the first month of the season. Here's hoping he keeps it up.

Jordan Zimmermann is the first starter in this series who the Cubs did not face in the last series in Chicago between the two teams. He, too, has been outstanding since June 1: in 44 innings a 1.78 ERA and 0.818 WHIP, 41 strikeouts and just six walks. Zimmermann suffered from a bit of Jeff Samardzija Disease: the Nats got shut out twice in that six-start span. The last time he faced the Cubs, though, they crushed him. Go look at who had the biggest game.

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.

For 2014, we are going to have the same game-thread routine as 2013. Here's how it works.

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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