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Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals preview, Saturday 8/5, 1:20 CT

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The Cubs will try to break their three-game losing streak.

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Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs have lost three straight. That’s not good.

But the Cubs are still in first place and are 14-6 since the All-Star break. That’s good! You didn’t expect them to win every single game, did you?

One thing that’s a bit concerning is the Cubs’ record against playoff contenders outside the N.L. Central (IOW, against teams other than the Brewers). They are a combined 7-14 against the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Rockies and Nationals.

Obviously, that’s going to have to improve for this team to be able to have a playoff run, presuming they do go on to win the Central. Winning today and tomorrow would be a good start to that. After this weekend the Cubs have just three games left against those four teams (the three next weekend in Arizona).

SITE NOTE: Today’s recap will be delayed till early evening as I have been invited to a postgame party.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Jay CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Contreras LF, Zobrist 2B, Avila C, Heyward RF, Baez SS, Lackey P

Nationals lineup:

Goodwin CF, Difo SS, Harper RF, Zimmerman 1B, Murphy 2B, Rendon 3B, Lind LF, Wieters C, Jackson P

John Lackey vs. Edwin Jackson

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images

John Lackey had a solid month of July: four starts, 3.27 ERA, 1.227 WHIP in 22 innings. He seems recovered from the foot problem that clearly was affecting him prior to his brief DL stint last month.

This will hopefully help him avoid a repeat of his start in June vs. the Nats in Washington, in which he got pounded for eight runs and three home runs in 5⅓ innings.

It also might help that Lackey’s opponent is Edwin Jackson. I certainly don’t have to tell you anything about E-Jax’s tenure with the Cubs. What I can tell you is that in the two games he has faced the Cubs since leaving in mid-2015, he’s allowed seven runs in 6⅓ innings, including five home runs.

Since joining the Nats he’s made three starts. He’s gone seven innings in two of them and has a 2.84 ERA and 1.000 WHIP. That’s good!

He’s also allowed five home runs in 19 innings. That’s not good, and hopefully the Cubs can take him deep a few times this afternoon.

Today's game is on ABC7 Chicago. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Chicago and Washington markets).

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

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The 2017 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2016. 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.

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Discuss amongst yourselves.