The Chicago Cubs will return home after a brief six-game West Coast road trip against the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks and will have themselves another tough stretch with the Washington Nationals in a Memorial Day battle.
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Joe Maddon and his young team split this past weeks road trip 3-3 while the Nationals (26-18) have won eight out 10 dating back to Wednesday, May 13. They found themselves in a six-game win streak only to have it end two days ago in a road game against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Bryce Harper and company managed to put themselves back in the win column following the 8-1 loss on Saturday, carrying a bit of momentum into today’s game with Tsuyoshi Wada on the mound. Wada (0-0, 3.86 ERA) is making his 2015 home debut after picking up his first start last Wednesday against the Padres, allowing two earned runs on a Justin Upton home run but struck out nine batters in 4 2/3 innings.
Today’s series opener revives the rivalry between both Harper and Cubs (24-19) rookie Kris Bryant. Both players grew up in the same city of Las Vegas, Nevada and played baseball against each other throughout high school.
Anthony Rizzo had himself a big game this past Saturday, recording six RBI on a late double and three-run home run as the Cubs would def. the D’backs, 9-6.
Bryant was fairly quiet during the weekend series in Arizona but watched his hitting streak come to an end after 12 games. His power has resulted in multiple home runs finding Wrigley’s left field bleachers, so don’t expect his bat to stay quiet for too long during this home stretch.
Starting opposite of Wada, will be Illinois-native Tanner Roark. Roark (0-2, 2.66 ERA) has appeared in 13 games for the first-place Nationals today, but this outing will be his first start of the season. In those 13 appearances, Roark has allowed only six earned runs on 23 hits including two home runs while posting a 7/5 K/BB ratio and 1.38 WHIP.
Last season with the Nats’, Roark ended the year with a 15-10 record behind 31 starts and a 2.85 ERA. He’s only been in the league for two years and has kept his ERA under three with his career best being 1.51 during his rookie campaign in 2013.
Roark will have his hands full with a team that has done fairly well with pitchers who own low ERA’s.
Here’s a look at today’s starting lineups for both teams:
First pitch for today’s showdown is scheduled for 1:20pm central time and will air live on WGN, WBBM 780.