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Nationals 4, Cubs 3: Who are these guys?

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A very different Cubs team took the field in Washington Friday night.

Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Before you begin reading this recap of the Cubs’ 4-3 loss to the Nationals Friday night, know that this article is absolutely, positively not about any of the events that went down for our favorite baseball team in the trade market Friday. I’ll have plenty more to say about that later; for now, this is simply a story about one Chicago Cubs baseball game.

With all the trades, major roster moves were made, including the somewhat-surprising reactivation of Jake Arrieta from the injured list. Arrieta had last pitched July 6 before going on the IL with hamstring issues that had supposedly been bothering him since May. He didn’t go on a rehab assignment and was clearly on a pitch limit.

He didn’t pitch too badly, two runs in four innings, including a long home run served up to Luis Garcia. Now... I had to look up who that guy is, and in so doing I found out there are three active players with that name. This one is from the Nats farm system and is the son of ... someone else named Luis Garcia who briefly pitched for the Tigers in 1999.

So there’s your Garcia Report.

The Cubs got on the board in the third inning. Sergio Alcántara led off with a double and one out later, Rafael Ortega doubled him in [VIDEO].

The Nats plated one run in the fifth and another in the sixth. The first was off Adam Morgan, and I repeat: Do we really need more Adam Morgan? I’d like to see someone like Ben Leeper in the Cubs bullpen. Adam Morgan is not part of this team’s future.

The other run was off Michael Rucker, who was making his MLB debut. Rucker was the Cubs’ 11th-round pick out of BYU in 2016, was lost to the Orioles in the 2019 Rule 5 draft, then returned to the Cubs just about the time everything shut down last year. I thought he threw reasonably well, at times touching 97 miles per hour.

The Cubs made the game close in the eighth. With one out, Ortega singled and Willson Contreras doubled him to third. After the second out was recorded, Patrick Wisdom singled them both in [VIDEO].

Manuel Rodriguez then entered to throw the bottom of the eighth for the Cubs, also making his MLB debut. I can see why the Cubs protected him on their 40-man roster for more than two years. He’s got electric stuff. A couple of times, he touched 100 miles per hour. Here, he strikes out Gerardo Parra on a fastball at 99 [VIDEO].

Yeah, that stuff will play, for sure. Rodriguez turns 25 next week and if you want to see someone who will be a key part of next year’s Cubs bullpen, watch him pitch. I was impressed.

The Cubs could not score in the ninth despite a leadoff single by Jason Heyward and so this just went down as another depressing one-run loss. The Cubs are now 15-19 in one-run games in 2021.

As noted above, I’ll have more to say about the deals made and the changes coming to Cubs baseball later this morning. In the meantime, there will be another Chicago Cubs game tonight. Kyle Hendricks will be the Cubs starter and at the time of this recap posting, the Nationals did not have a starting pitcher listed. Game time is again 6:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.