MLB Preview: Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals, May 10-12

By Stephanie Lynn
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

When the Chicago Cubs last visited the Washington Nationals last September, there was a lot of yelling and a lot of fighting from both teams as tempers flared. Here we are eight months later, and the Cubs are ready to take on the Nationals once again, hopefully in a more peaceful manner.

The Cubs enter this series with a record of 13-21 while the Nationals are 19-15; how will the Cubs fair in a series against one of the best teams in the National League? Given what we’ve seen from the Cubs in previous games, it’s not looking terribly promising for them to walk away with a series win.

While the Cubs were swept in a four-game series against the Nats last fall, ace pitcher Jeff Samardzija should give Chicago some hope for a win on Friday night. The right-hander has a record of 1-4 with an ERA of 3.09 this season while Nats starting pitcher, Ross Detwiler is 1-3 with an ERA of 2.50.

Friday is the Cubs’ best chance of winning because of the remarkable pitching Samardzija is capable of. The only thing that would prevent the Cubs from winning with their ace on the mound is a lack of run support from the rest of the team.

Saturday’s game has the potential to be torturous for Cubs fans: former Nationals’ pitcher Edwin Jackson will take the mound for the Cubs against superstar Stephen Strasburg. Jackson has a pitiful record of 0-5 and an embarrassing ERA of 6.39. The Nationals’ ace pitcher, Strasburg, has struggled a bit this season, but has a record of 1-4 and a solid ERA of 3.45.

If Jackson can’t keep his command while pitching on Saturday, expect the Nats to be hitting the ball like crazy. But can the Cubs hit Strasburg? They managed against him on Opening Day of 2012 as he gave up two runs, although the Nationals eventually won the game.

Sunday will be a game that could go either way. The Cubs will send Scott Feldman to the mound while Gio Gonzalez while get the start for the Nats. Feldman has been especially impressive in his last two starts and has a record of 3-3 with a 2.70 ERA. Gonzalez, on the other hand, has a record of 3-2, but an ERA of 4.97.

This game will be up for grabs by either team. If Feldman can continue his remarkable pitching that he demonstrated last month, the Cubs could easily take the final from the Nationals.

The Cubs have the potential to do well in this series, it’s just a matter of whether they can stop making careless mistakes and get on base. If they can provide decent hitting and pitching, this series may not be as painful as we think.

If not, prepare yourselves for a whole lot of talk from the fans of Washington DC.

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