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Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals preview, Monday 5/17, 6:40 CT

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The Cubs open a quick four-game, one-series homestand.

Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Earlier today, I told you about a memorable Cubs game that happened on May 17.

Here’s another one that happened on May 17, just two years ago, involving the same two teams that’ll be playing at Wrigley Field tonight:

I think we’d all be happy with a result like that tonight.

Monday notes:

  • THE OFFENSE DOES NOT OFFEND: Since April 17, Cubs hitters lead the majors with a .776 OPS and 5.5 runs per game in 26 contests (143 runs scored). The team also leads the N.L. and second in the majors with a .340 on‐base percentage and a .437 slugging percentage
  • WILLSON! Over his last six games, Willson Contreras is hitting .391/.462/.435 (9-for-23).
  • JAVY! Over his last 18 games, Javier Baez is hitting .313/.342/.552 (21-for-67) with two doubles, a triple and four home runs.
  • RISP-Y BUSINESS: The Cubs had 50 hits during the just completed five‐game road trip, batting .272 (50‐for‐184). However, that breaks down to 9‐for‐54 (.167) with runners in scoring position and 41‐for‐130 (.315) in all other situations.

Cubs lineup:

Nationals lineup:

Adbert Alzolay, RHP vs. Jon Lester, LHP

USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY NETWORK

I keep waiting for Adbert Alzolay to have that dominant game I’m certain he has in him, the one that will make all of MLB stand up and take notice of his talent. He’s so, so close to getting there.

His last four starts: 3.74 ERA, 0.831 WHIP, 26 strikeouts and just four walks in 21⅔ innings. You can see the talent there. One key is the walks — that rate is way down from previous years, he’s getting command of all his pitches.

Alzolay has never faced the Nationals and the only current Nat who has faced him is Josh Bell (2-for-4, both home runs).

We all love Kyle Schwarber but I would love to see Adbert strike him out three times tonight.

That photo of Jon Lester in that Nats spring training cap will never not look weird.

Lester has made three starts this year and has thrown reasonably well, though his K rate is down and walk rate is up.

He has not faced the Cubs since he was with the Red Sox in 2011 and 2012, and while those boxscore links are irrelevant to today’s game, I thought you’d be amused by them.

The only Cubs batter he’s faced more than a handful of times is Jason Heyward, and J-Hey has hit him well: 10-for-24 (.417), four doubles, a home run.

They will undoubtedly play a tribute video for Lester before tonight’s game. I expect he’ll get a rousing ovation. It will be well deserved.

Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. Here’s a list of providers currently carrying Marquee.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com 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 2021 Game Thread procedure will be a bit different than previous years. It will be similar to what we’ve used for Spring Training.

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, titled “Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of week/date) game threads.” It will contain every post related to that particular game, including the First Pitch Thread and the overflow thread, as well as the recap when it’s published. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post.

You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread and the overflow thread in the box marked “Chicago Cubs Game Threads” at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). The StoryStream for each game can also be found in that section.

The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at 90 minutes after the scheduled game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.