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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Nationals series preview

The season goes on after a wild trade deadline for both these teams.

Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Washington Nationals were busy folks late Thursday, making several major deals. There could be others before the trade deadline, but baseball continues and the Cubs and Nats will play a three-game series beginning Friday evening.

With more on what’s left of the Nats, here’s Patrick Reddington, who runs our SB Nation Nationals site Federal Baseball.

You know, with the way the Nationals have played, and with a fairly clear statement from GM Mike Rizzo this week that players on expiring contracts were likely to be dealt since the team doesn’t appear to be going anywhere this season, what happened yesterday wasn’t unexpected, but the ruthless way in which Rizzo traded one player after another was startling, kind of admirable, in a “Wow, he’s committed to this retool,” sort of way, and efficient, landing a number of highly-regarded and ranked prospects from Toronto, Los Angeles, Boston, and San Diego in a few short hours.

Brad Hand, Max Scherzer, Trea Turner (which while not a total shock; yeah, still shocking), Kyle Schwarber, and Daniel Hudson all got traded after another walk-off loss (the third in four games) in the series finale with the Philadelphia’s Phillies in Citizens Bank. Yan Gomes is reportedly available as well and likely to be traded before today’s deadline, but over a few hours last night, Rizzo and Co. in the Nationals’ front office fully committed to a retool or rebuild.

We asked manager Davey Martinez earlier this week if he’d accepted the reality that a lot of the players who have been part of his club for a while now might not be on the team come this weekend.

“I was waiting for one of you guys to ask that question,” he said. “You know how I feel about these guys, a lot of us since I’ve been here, we go way back, we’ve won a championship together, so any one of these guys that do happen to get traded, it will be a sad moment, it really will, but you’ve always got to wish them the best. And unfortunately it’s part of the game, we all know that, we signed up for this, it happens. But if we do happen to trade somebody they all know that I’ll miss them dearly, and their teammates will miss them dearly, but they also know that we wish them the best as well.”

So we kind of knew some of this was coming, but it really happened kind of all at once last night. And now what? It will be interest to see what the team ends up looking like down the stretch.

Fun fact

With the shocking trade of Kyle Schwarber to the Red Sox, there are just two former Cubs remaining on the Nats roster: starting pitcher Jon Lester and backup catcher René Rivera. The latter played against the Cubs earlier this year when he was with Cleveland. In two games vs. the Cubs, Rivera went 0-for-6 with five strikeouts.

Probable pitching matchups

Friday: Trevor Williams, RHP (4-2, 5.06 ERA, 1.534 WHIP, 4.52 FIP) vs. TBD

Saturday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (12-4, 3.85 ERA, 1.307 WHIP, 4.75 FIP) vs. TBD

Sunday: Adbert Alzolay, RHP (4-11, 4.73 ERA, 1.125 WHIP, 5.32 FIP) vs. TBD

Times & TV channels

Friday: 6:05 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Nationals market territories)

Saturday: 6:05 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Sunday: 12:05 p.m CT, Marquee Sports Network


After multiple trades and COVID-19 list placements, the Nats are playing this series with a depleted roster.

On the other hand, after a bunch of trades of their own, so are the Cubs.

But I still think the Cubs can take two of three here.

Up next

The Cubs have Monday off, then travel to Denver for a three-game series against the Rockies beginning Tuesday evening.


How many games will the Cubs win against the Nationals?

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  • 11%
    (15 votes)
  • 20%
    (26 votes)
  • 27%
    (35 votes)
  • 39%
    (50 votes)
126 votes total Vote Now