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Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals Preview, Sunday 5/8, 1:20 CT

The Cubs go for a four-game sweep of the Nats.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, the Cubs swept four four-game series, against the Mets, Braves, Brewers and Giants.

This is not an easy thing to do; no Cubs team had swept that many four-game sets in a season since 1945.

The current series is the Cubs' first four-game set of 2016. With a win today, they'll sweep it, and with Jake Arrieta on the mound, they've got a pretty good chance of doing so.

There's your storyline for today. Also, a win would give the Cubs seven straight.

Here are today's particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Fowler CF, Heyward RF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist 2B, Soler LF, Russell SS, Federowicz C, Arrieta P

Nationals lineup:

Revere CF, Rendon 3B, Harper RF, Zimmerman 1B, Murphy 2B, Werth LF, Ramos C, Espinosa SS, Roark P

Jake Arrieta


Tanner Roark

What further superlatives can I possibly write about Jake Arrieta that you haven't already heard? He's trying to become the second pitcher (after Chris Sale) to go 7-0, his ERA stands at a major-league-leading 0.84, his ERA+ is an insane 496 and he's already posted 2.2 bWAR, and we're only one month into the 2016 season. He faced the Nats once last year, June 4 in Washington, and gave up one run in six innings, with eight strikeouts. And that was before he went on his historic second-half run.

Tanner Roark has three starts this year in which he's thrown seven innings and given up no runs. In his other three starts, he's thrown 17⅓ innings and allowed 22 hits and 10 earned runs. Which is the real Roark? The good starts were against the Braves, Twins and Phillies; the bad ones against the Marlins (twice) and Royals. Current Cubs are hitting .204 (10-for-49) against Roark, but three of those 10 hits are home runs (two by Anthony Rizzo, one by Kris Bryant).

Roark is a native of downstate Wilmington and played college baseball at the University of Illinois.

Today's game is on WGN. Outside the Chicago and Washington markets this game will be available nationally on MLB Network.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Nationals site Federal Baseball. If you do go there to interact with Nationals fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

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.