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Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals preview, Thursday 9/13, 3:05 CT

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Well, here we are.

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

This is the game no one really wanted to play. The Cubs tried hard to get it rescheduled for October 1; MLB wouldn’t budge. So the Cubs are in a turnaround of taking two flights in less than 24 hours, to and from Washington. The Nationals took a bus from Philadelphia, where they played a series that ended Wednesday, and they, too, will fly out after the game, heading to Atlanta for a weekend set.

Anthony Rizzo and his teammates appear to have had a fun flight to D.C., anyway:

There is a possibility of scattered showers in the D.C. area this afternoon. Just because you got really familiar with this last weekend, here’s the Washington-area radar again:

Thursday notes:

  • If the Cubs win today’s game, they will have their best-ever performance against the N.L. East. Entering this year, their highest single-season winning percentage against the N.L. East is .647 (22-12), in 2015. Coming into today’s game they are 21-11 (.656) against N.L. East opponents.
  • The Cubs rank fifth in the majors with 41 defensive runs saved, trailing the Diamondbacks (113), Brewers (88), Braves (55) and Padres (42).
  • The Cubs’ .634 home winning percentage (45-26) leads the N.L. and is fourth-best in the majors behind the Red Sox (51-20, .718), Yankees (48-24, .667) and Rays (46-25, .648). 10 of the remaining 17 games this season are at Wrigley Field.
  • Mike Montgomery has a 3.85 ERA in 19 relief appearances and 15 starts this season. Just two Cubs since 1975 have had seasons with at least 15 starts and 15 relief appearances and an ERA lower than Montgomery’s current mark. Glendon Rusch did this in 2004 (3.47 ERA in 16 starts and 16 relief appearances). Carlos Zambrano did so both in 2002 (3.66 ERA in 16 starts and 16 relief appearances) and 2010 (3.33 ERA in 20 starts and 16 relief appearances).

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Nationals lineup:

Mike Montgomery, LHP vs. Joe Ross, RHP

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Montgomery has not pitched since September 4, when he threw four innings against the Brewers. You’d think, then, that at least he’d be somewhat rested.

He threw one inning of scoreless relief against the Nationals August 11 at Wrigley Field, after which he spent a couple of weeks on the disabled list. He’s been good as a starter this year, with a 3.43 ERA and 1.352 WHIP in 15 starts covering 81⅓ innings.

Hopefully, he’s got another good outing in him this afternoon.

Here’s what I wrote about Joe Ross in last Friday’s game preview, a game which he started and threw one inning plus part of a second:

Joe Ross last pitched in a MLB game July 9, 2017, after which he had Tommy John surgery. He’s made six rehab starts in the Nats minor league system with good results, and tonight is his first game back from TJS, only 14 months after he had it, which seems a little bit quick.

Ross faced the Cubs June 29, 2017 at Nationals Park and threw pretty well: 6⅔ innings, two runs. Current Cubs are hitting .250 against him in a small sample size (11-for-44).

Ross recorded five outs against the Cubs Friday, allowing a single to Anthony Rizzo, with one strikeout.

Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com 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 2018 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2017. 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.