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The All-Zimmerman(n) Show: Cubs vs. Nationals Preview, Saturday 7/18, 6:05 CT

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WASHINGTON -- As if it's not confusing enough that both teams in this series have a Guzman and a Johnson (no TWSS jokes needed here, please!), the Nationals will trot out two guys named Zimmerman(n) tonight. Ryan Zimmerman, of course, is their starting third baseman, and Jordan Zimmermann, who got an extra "n" at birth, will be tonight's starting pitcher for Washington.

Meanwhile, Alfonso Soriano's dislocated right pinky finger may have him out for more than a few days:

Soriano said he dislocated the finger when second baseman Alberto Gonzalez tagged him out while he was diving back to first during a fourth-inning rundown Thursday night. He popped it back in and continued to play, but the finger swelled up overnight. Soriano was scratched from the starting lineup Friday night and is expected to miss at least a couple more games.

"I don't have power in my hand because I can't grab the bat," he said.

Now, I am not an in-shape professional athlete. But I dislocated the same finger Soriano did, a couple of years ago. (I popped it back in place too. The doctor who saw me said I probably shouldn't have done that. But it was bent out at a 45-degree angle and I couldn't stand looking at it like that!) In any case, it took me a good month before it felt anywhere close to normal and I didn't have to grip a bat and play baseball at the major league level. It may be more than "a few days". Given Soriano's struggles, we can have a reasonable debate on whether this hurts or helps the Cubs. (Jessica will be happy if this gives Sam Fuld more playing time.)

Also noted in Paul Sullivan's article, Ted Lilly has a bit of knee soreness -- nothing serious, we are told -- and so Ted's start will be pushed back to the series opener at Philadelphia on Monday.

Lilly is scheduled tentatively to pitch Monday night in Philadelphia, but in essence the Cubs are only buying some time before deciding whether to put the left-hander on the disabled list.

"Maybe signing [B.J.] Ryan could be a good timing thing for us," manager Lou Piniella said, meaning Sean Marshall may have to move into the rotation, with Ryan taking his spot as the late-inning lefty out of the bullpen.

Ted Lilly to the DL? Preposterous. Ted Lilly eats DL's for lunch.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Randy Wells
Randy
Wells

Cubs
vs. Jordan Zimmermann
Jordan Zimmermann
Nationals
4-4 W-L 3-4
2.72 ERA 4.50
53 SO 84
17 BB 28
7 HR 9
vs. Was -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Randy Wells 4-4 12 12 0 0 0 0 76.0 68 24 23 7 17 53 2.72 1.12


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Jordan Zimmermann 3-4 15 15 0 0 0 0 86.0 89 46 43 9 28 84 4.50 1.36

This is the rookie year for both of tonight's pitchers. Jordan Zimmermann has made 15 starts and since June 1 has a 2.70 ERA. However, since he's a Nat, that has resulted in only a 2-5 record. This is his first start vs. the Cubs.

Randy Wells, as you know, had a similar problem, throwing very well in his first six starts but getting only four no-decisions and two losses. Since June 12 -- his only really bad start, vs. the Twins -- he is 4-1, 2.94. He will be facing the Nats for the first time.

The Cubs are back on WGN tonight, along with MASN in the DC area. For other games today see the MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

I was remiss the other day in not mentioning the well-written SB Nation Nationals blog, Federal Baseball.

Overflow comment threads will post today at 7 pm, 8 pm and 8:45 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.