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Going For The Sweep: Cubs vs. Nationals, Sunday 7/19, 12:35 CT

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Sweeping a four-game series is hard, and especially on the road. Nevertheless, the Cubs did it last year in Milwaukee -- a series that defined the NL Central race in 2008 once and for all -- and if they are going to make a statement in this year's race, sweeping a bad Nationals team (there, I said it) is a good way to do it. Washington is on pace to win 47 games this year; they have some young pitchers who might be decent in a year or two, but they are eminently sweepable.

Good news about Ted Lilly:

"He said he could have pitched today if he had to," manager Lou Piniella said before Saturday's game, which Lilly originally had been scheduled to start. "So that's a good sign for us."

Lilly, who has been bothered off and on since May by discomfort on the inside part of the knee, said he can't pinpoint where the problem started. An MRI exam revealed nothing serious enough to prevent him from pitching through the occasional flareup.

Since May? Well, since May 1 Ted is 7-4, 3.02 with 18 walks and 85 strikeouts in 95.1 innings. This man really can do anything.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Kevin Hart
Kevin Hart
Cubs
vs. Garrett Mock
Garrett Mock
Nationals
0-1 W-L 0-2
1.69 ERA 6.92
4 SO 6
10 BB 8
1 HR 0
vs. Was -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Kevin Hart 0-1 5 1 0 0 0 0 10.2 7 2 2 1 10 4 1.69 1.59


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Garrett Mock 0-2 13 0 0 0 0 1 13.0 16 10 10 0 8 6 6.92 1.85

Garrett Mock made a relief appearance vs. the Cubs on August 23, 2008 at Wrigley Field, allowing a run in 1.2 innings. This is his first start of 2008 after 13 relief appearances, during which he pitched mostly poorly (1.85 WHIP, 6.92 ERA).

Kevin Hart's ERA, 1.69, is misleading, because he escaped major damage to it in his only major league start to date, July 8 vs. Atlanta. He has never faced the Nats, but he has faced Adam Dunn. Once, on April 16, 2008 at Wrigley Field, when Dunn was still a Red. Dunn homered off Hart. That's enough of that.

The Cubs are on WGN again today, along with MASN in the DC area, and according to the Nats website, also on a broadcast channel, DC50. For other games today see the MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Once again, a note that you can find out what Nats fans (yes, there are some) are thinking at the SB Nation Nationals blog, Federal Baseball.

Overflow comment threads will post today at 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm and 3:15 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.