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Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals Preview, Monday 9/3, 12:05 CT

Luis Valbuena of the Chicago Cubs makes a diving catch against the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
Luis Valbuena of the Chicago Cubs makes a diving catch against the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
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A 10-game road trip. Just what this team needed, right? Let's look at how the Cubs have done on the road this year, and recently. (The squeamish might want to avert their eyes. This ain't pretty.)

The Cubs are 17-48 on the road this season. That's the second-worst road record in the major leagues -- only the Astros, at 13-53, are worse. Here's another view on how bad that 17-48 mark is: the next-worst road record is seven games better; the Indians are 24-41.

Oh, but wait, there's more: after defeating the Cardinals in St. Louis on May 14, the Cubs had a 5-10 road record. That means since then, they are 12-38 away from Wrigley Field. They have made three road trips since the All-Star break and are 3-16 in those games. They have won three road series all year: in June at the White Sox, in July at the Mets, and later in July at the Pirates.

All of this is to say that the Cubs are very likely not going to win a game until they get to Pittsburgh, and possibly not even until they get to Houston, a week from today.

Happy Labor Day! As I noted yesterday, I'll be in Geneva, Illinois this afternoon watching the Peoria Chiefs take on the Kane County Cougars. Looking forward to seeing Jorge Soler hit; there's (hopefully) the better future for the Cubs. The recap of the Cubs/Nats game will be posted sometime this evening.

Cubs lineup:

Mather CF, Barney 2B, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, Castro SS, Castillo C, Vitters 3B, Sappelt RF, Samardzija P

Hey, look! Once again, Joe Mather leads off. His OBP has gone from .255 to .258 since the last time he led off. Nice to see Dave Sappelt getting a start. Why is he in RF and Mather in CF?

Nationals lineup was not available at the time this post published. Check the BCB Twitter feed for the Nats lineup.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Jeff Samardzija
Jeff Samardzija
vs. Ross Detwiler
Ross Detwiler
8-12 W-L 8-6
4.03 ERA 3.32
163 SO 83
54 BB 36
19 HR 9
vs. Was -- vs. Cubs

2012 - Jeff Samardzija 8-12 28 26 0 0 0 0 158.2 146 75 71 19 54 163 4.03 1.26

2011 - Ross Detwiler 8-6 27 21 0 0 0 0 133.0 118 56 49 9 36 83 3.32 1.17

Remember this game? It was Jeff Samardzija's first start of the season, against the Nats at Wrigley Field on April 8. He pitched brilliantly and was one out away from a complete-game win when Starlin Castro made an error. The next hitter, Adam LaRoche, hit a two-run homer, forcing Dale Sveum to bring Carlos Marmol to close. (Marmol did.) Here's hoping Shark can repeat that game, minus the home run, of course. (And, 133 games into the season, the Cubs still don't have a complete game; just two other teams -- the Brewers and Rockies -- still have a "0" in the "CG" column.)

Ross Detwiler last faced the Cubs August 10, 2011 at Wrigley Field. Take a look at that lineup to see how completely the Cubs have been made over in just over a year. Current Cubs are just 4-for-14 against him with no home runs. Doom? Probably.

Today's game is on WGN.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Nationals site Federal Baseball.

Today's first pitch thread will post at 12:05 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 1:05, 2:05 and 2:50 p.m. CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section. Also please note: due to some under-the-hood changes, the sidebar box with the game thread links is no longer available. It seems you've found them with no problems, but if you haven't been able to find the overflow threads, click the "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" link under "Sections" on the left sidebar. They're all in there.

Discuss amongst yourselves.