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Cubs vs. Nationals Preview, Thursday 6/26, 7:05 CT

The Cubs will play the Nats seven times over the next 11 days.

Brian Kersey

The last time the Cubs faced the Washington Nationals, David DeJesus was a member of the Nats. You don't remember that? He probably doesn't either, as he spent all of four days on the Nationals before being shipped off to the Rays. The Cubs wound up with... I think a bit of salary relief as a result of that trade.

The Cubs lost three of the four games in that series and are 7-14 against the Nats since 2011, the year Washington first burst onto the playoff-contending scene. The Nationals are leading the N.L. East as they come to Chicago for their only series of the year. That might not be saying much, as they are just five games over .500 and they and the Braves are the only teams over .500 in that division. I expect the Nats will eventually go on a run and claim the N.L. East title this year.

If you're not familiar with the Nats, you sure will be by a week from Sunday. Seven of the Cubs' next 10 games will be against them -- an entire season series played in 11 days' time. Thanks, MLB schedulers.

If you have not already done so please check out Russ La Croix' excellent series preview.

Cubs lineup:

Sweeney LF, Ruggiano RF, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Valbuena 3B, Castillo C, Lake CF, Barney 2B, Wood P

Yesterday, the Cubs leadoff hitter had a .274 OBP. Today, the leadoff hitter has a .247 OBP. This is not going in the right direction. Lifetime, Ryan Sweeney has a .282 OBP in 266 PA batting leadoff. Why are they doing this?

Nationals lineup:

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

Today's Starting Pitchers

Travis Wood

Travis Wood


vs. Doug Fister

Doug Fister


vs. Was


vs. Cubs

After a good April and a rough May, Travis Wood has been better in June -- 2.96 ERA, 1.356 WHIP, just two home runs allowed in 24⅓ innings over four starts. He doesn't have much experience against current Nats -- they are a small-sample-size 5-for-39 against him. It's supposed to be another coolish night with the wind blowing in, a good pitcher's night. It'd be nice for Wood to end his month on a high note.

Doug Fister has never faced the Cubs. Current Cubs are 8-for-22 against him; this tells us almost nothing. Fister is having a very good year for the Nats with a 2.64 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. He has issued just six walks in 57⅔ innings. The Cubs will thus likely have to be aggressive at the plate. You know how that often works out -- doom coming, I think.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday 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.