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

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The Cubs go for the series win over the visitors from Washington.

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Today's roster move: Here

Thursday notes...

  • SO CLOSE: The Cubs are 10-6 in May. All six losses have been by one run, Of the wins, fiv have been by one run, one by two runs, one by three runs, two by four runs and one by six runs. Overall the Cubs are 8-8 in one-run games in 2021.
  • THE YOUNG GUYS: The Cubs have had five players make their MLB debut this year: P.J. Higgins, Trevor Megill, Tommy Nance, Justin Steele and Keegan Thompson. It’s the first time that’s happened before the end of May since 2000, when they had seven such debuts (Tarrik Brock, Danny Young, Julio Zuleta, Daniel Garibay, Scott Downs, Ruben Quevedo and Raul Gonzalez). The first two were due to expanded rosters for the two Cubs/Mets games in Japan. The five debuts is already the most for a full season since 2017 (eight). (H/T: Ed Hartig)
  • BREAK-EVEN: The Cubs are at .500 for the ninth time at 21-21 (also 1-1, 3-3, 4-4, 9-9, 10-10, 16-16, 17-17 and 20-20). It’s the most such .500 marks they’ve had at this point in the season since 2011, when they were at .500 at every win point from 1-1 to 10-10.
  • JAVY! JAVY! Since April 21, Javier Báez is hitting .312/.337/.597 (24-for-77) with two doubles, a triple and six home runs.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

It's a scheduled day off for Kris Bryant.

Nationals lineup:

Trevor Williams, RHP vs. Joe Ross, RHP

USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY NETWORK

Let’s face it, Trevor Williams’ May has just been bad. I’ll spare you the numbers.

I will say that Trevor has been much better this year at Wrigley Field than on the road.

Home: four starts, 3.15 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, two HR in 20 innings
Road: four starts, 11.08 ERA, 2.769 WHIP, four HR in 13 innings

The only Nats player who has more than a handful of at-bats against him is Kyle Schwarber, and Schwarber has done well: .308 (8-for-26), three home runs. Keep Schwarber down and this could be a good outing for Williams.

Fun fact: Joe Ross turns 28 tomorrow.

Ross has made several good start this year — but two in which he has gotten torched for eight or more runs, including his last outing vs. the D-backs.

He’s got the reverse home/road split that Williams does:

Home: two starts, 11.17 ERA, 1.862 WHIP, five HR in 13⅔ innings
Road: five starts, 3.81 ERA, 1.308 WHIP, three HR in 26 innings

He doesn’t have much career experience vs. the Cubs, only two Cubs have more than a handful of at-bats against him. Kris Bryant is 3-for-11 (.273) and Anthony Rizzo is 5-for-12 (.417) with two doubles.

Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. Here’s a list of providers currently carrying Marquee. The game is also on MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Nationals market territories).

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.