Both teams entered last week’s three-game set, holding each other to under four runs behind strong starts from each of their starting pitchers. The story of this series was the rivalry between Cubs’ rookie phenom Kris Bryant and childhood friend, Bryce Harper being revived.
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Chicago (27-22) was carried to a 3-2 win over the Nats last Tuesday following a game-tying solo bomb by Bryant in the eighth inning while Addison Russell dropped a walk-off double behind Denard Span in right-center field. Washington (29-24) would shutout the Cubs 3-0 in the series finale.
Surprisingly, both clubs have gone 4-6 over their previous 10 games and enter tonight’s game with a two-game losing streak apiece.
Arrieta (4-4, 3.18 ERA) will look to start off the month with a bang after giving up four earned runs on eight hits including three home runs in seven innings to the Kansas City Royals near the end of May. It wasn’t his best outing this season and those three big flies bumped his season total up to six in 10 starts.
His counterpart, Gio Gonzalez, was also roughed up in his previous outing while visiting the Cincinnati Reds – a team that swept the Nationals this past weekend, outscoring them 21-9.
Gonzalez (4-2, 4.73 ERA) made it through only 5 1/3 frames before handing things over to his bullpen. Cincinnati recorded four earned runs on seven hits including a deep two-run shot by Joey Votto to left-center field off Gonzalez in the home half of the third to give up the one-run lead.
Bryant was named the N.L. Rookie of the Month while Harper earned N.L. Player of the Month honors yesterday. These two men lifted moon shots during their first big league encounter and could end up being teammates if the 23-year-old rookie manages to make the All-Star roster this season.
He’s been quiet since lifting a home run in back-to-back games with the Nationals in town, recording only two RBI in his previous six games against the Royals and Marlins. Hopefully, that changes tonight as the third-place Cubs try to reclaim second-place in the National League Central.
Here’s a look at tonight’s lineup’s:
First pitch is slated for 6:05 pm central time and will be aired live on WGN, WBBM 780.