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Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals preview, Saturday 7/31, 6:05 CT

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The Cubs look to even up their series against the Nats.

Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Today’s roster move: Here

Saturday notes...

  • THAT NEW LEADOFF GUY: Rafael Ortega has hit safely in 11 of his last 14 games and in that span is hitting .385/.442/.538 (15-for-39) with four doubles, a triple and four walks.
  • THAT OTHER ROMINE: Andrew Romine, starting at shortstop tonight, hit .311/.383/.396 (51-for-164) at Triple-A Iowa this year with seven doubles, two triples, 17 walks and 26 runs.
  • MORE WISDOM: Patrick Wisdom’s 16 home runs lead NL rookies and are fourth-most among all rookies. Adolis Garcia leads with 23 while Eric Haase and Ryan Mountcastle are tied for second with 17 apiece. Wisdom’s .939 OPS leads all rookies (min. 150 PA), ahead of Haase (.850).
  • THAT ONE WENT A LONG, LONG WAY: Willson Contreras has homered in three of his last six games, including his 464-foot blast on Thursday at Wrigley Field. The 464-foot homer was the longest of his career and longest by a Cub since Ian Happ’s 474-foot homer on Aug. 5, 2019.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

The Nationals lineup was not available at posting time. Please check the BCB Twitter feed for the Nationals lineup.

Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Joe Ross, RHP

USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY NETWORK

Kyle Hendricks had been going along great, then the Reds pounded him last Monday. He hasn’t faced the Nats since 2019, when he threw eight one-run innings against them May 14 of that year, but most of those guys are gone now. Current Nats are a small sample size 13-for-64 (.203) against Kyle with 16 strikeouts. Sounds good for a possible victory tonight.

Statcast

Joe Ross got hit pretty hard by the Cubs May 20 at Wrigley Field, Ian Happ homered off him — hey, maybe that’s a good sign.

Since that outing Ross has actually thrown pretty well: Nine starts. 2.38 ERA, 0.981 WHIP, .205 opponents BA, 59 strikeouts in 53 innings.

But Ross has been much worse at Nationals Park (4.91 ERA in seven starts) than on the road (2.91 ERA in 10 starts). So maybe Cubs hitters can get to him.

Statcast

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.