Most of what's important for tonight's game is in the series preview, so check it out if you haven't already.
The Nats have piled up most of their 19-8 start against the Braves (6-0), Twins (3-0) and Cardinals (3-0). Against everyone else they're 7-8, which includes being swept by the Phillies in Philadelphia, two of those by shutout. The Phillies are off to a good start, but it's still up for question whether they're that good.
The Cubs and Nats are atop the N.L. pitching charts in ERA and fewest runs allowed. But the Cubs have outscored the Nats 159-120, and that's even after the Nats put up 13 runs on the Royals Wednesday in Kansas City.
This series should be a good test of both ballclubs' strengths. Bryce Harper, who was off to a hot start, is in a 4-for-30 slump. It would be good to take advantage of that.
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Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, La Stella 3B, Bryant RF, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist 2B, Kalish LF, Russell SS, Federowicz C, Hendricks P
That was the original Cubs lineup and tweet -- here's the revised version:
A few position updates, but our batting order remains the same:— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 5, 2016
La Stella - 3B
Bryant - RF
Zobrist - 2B pic.twitter.com/OOsXkkow3A
Taylor CF, Rendon 3B, Harper RF, Zimmerman 1B, Murphy 2B, Werth LF, Ramos C, Espinosa SS, Ross P
Kyle Hendricks had a start skipped last week due to the two rainouts, so he has not pitched in nine days. He's made four starts this year and pitched decently well, though not outstandingly. One of the best starts he made in 2015 was against the Nats, May 26 at Wrigley Field, where he threw seven innings, allowing four hits and one run. Current Nats are a small-sample-size 4-for-32 (.125) against Kyle with one home run (Bryce Harper).
Joe Ross' numbers could fit right in with the Cubs' rotation: 3-0, 0.79 ERA in four starts. His only weakness might be walks (seven in 22⅔ innings). Ross made his major-league debut against the Cubs last year, June 6 in Washington, allowing six hits and three runs in five innings. It's his only career appearance against the Cubs. Anthony Rizzo and Dexter Fowler were both 2-for-3 in that game.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago.
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The 2016 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used at the end of 2015. Here's how it works.
You'll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).
At the same time, a StoryStream™ containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap 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 the game's StoryStream™ as noted above.
The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.