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Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals preview, Saturday 9/8 Game 1, 2:05 CT

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The teams were rained out Friday night.

See this play? Technically, it did not happen, since the game in which it occurred was rained out and not official
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s how site logistics are going to work for today’s doubleheader.

This preview is posting as usual, two hours to game time. The usual threads will run at the usual times when the game begins and as it goes along.

When Game 1 ends, I’ll post a short recap which will also include pitcher previews for Game 2, since there won’t be time for both (Game 2 is set to start about 45 minutes after Game 1).

All the threads for both games will reside in one StoryStream.

Sunday morning, I’ll post a recap of Game 2 along with more thoughts about Game 1.

This is all subject to weather conditions, which aren’t supposed to be great today, either.

Notes:

  • Friday’s game marked the Cubs’ eighth postponement of the season but first since June 18 vs. the Dodgers. Saturday marks the Cubs’ fourth doubleheader of 2018. They split the other three, which were all day/night doubleheaders. Today is also the Cubs’ first single-admission doubleheader since September 11, 2015 in Philadelphia. They haven’t played a single-admission DH at Wrigley Field since August 3, 2006 against the Diamondbacks.
  • The Cubs and Nationals play a doubleheader in Washington, D.C. for the first time ever. These two teams last “played two” during a scheduled day/night DH on June 28, 2014 at Wrigley Field, a Nationals sweep. The Cubs last played a DH on the road vs. the Nationals franchise on June 5, 1992 in Montreal, a split with the Expos.
  • More doubleheader fun: The Cubs franchise is playing its first doubleheader of any kind in Washington, D.C. since August 20, 1897 when the Chicago Colts split a pair with the Washington Senators at Boundary Park.
  • The Athletic’s Jayson Stark notes that Cole Hamels is only the third pitcher in the last 20 years to be traded in July and win Pitcher of the Month honors with their new club in August, and they all happened 10 years apart. Hamels joins CC Sabathia (August 2008, traded from the Indians to the Brewers) and Randy Johnson (August 1998, traded from the Mariners to the Astros).

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber will rest for game 1.

Nationals lineup:

Jaime Garcia, LHP vs. Max Scherzer, RHP

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

So instead of the marquee Cole Hamels vs. Max Scherzer matchup, the Cubs are sending out Jaime Garcia to face Scherzer in the first game of the doubleheader. Hamels will start Game 2.

Three years ago this might have been viewed as a marquee matchup; Garcia was quite good for the Cardinals in 2015. But since then he’s been traded three times (!) and signed with a fourth team as a free agent. He didn’t do so well as a starter for the Blue Jays this year and wound up in their bullpen. The last time he threw more than 42 pitches in a game was in June. He hasn’t pitched at all since August 20 — he was supposed to make an appearance for Iowa after he was signed to a minor-league deal, but it got rained out.

The last time he faced the Nationals was May 21, 2017. We can hope for him to channel whatever he had that day, because he threw eight strong innings, allowing three runs (one earned) with no walks and eight strikeouts.

Stranger things have happened, right?

Max Scherzer is really good, in the Cy Young conversation and the last time he faced the Cubs, August 12 at Wrigley Field, he threw seven shutout innings, striking out 11. (Of course, that was the David Bote walkoff slam game.)

Since that start, though, Scherzer has been almost human (as opposed to the superhuman he usually is). He’s got a 2.88 ERA in four starts since he faced the Cubs and has allowed four home runs in 25 innings. Maybe he’s running out of gas.

That’s about all I’ve got. This will be a very difficult game to win.

This 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.