Washington Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez is in the midst of a career year as the Chicago Cubs open a four-game set in D.C. Monday night.
Facing the National League East-leading Washington Nationals, the Chicago Cubs‘ Eddie Butler faces a tall task. In most of his starts this year, the right-hander flirted with danger. If he does that on Monday night, he may pay a heavy price.
Washington (45-30) ranks second in the NL in batting average (.278), first in runs (424) and first in OPS (.821). The Nats appear poised to run away with the division, which would secure them a spot in a postseason series for the third time in the last six years.
Left-hander Gio Gonzalez takes the ball for the Nationals. He comes into Monday’s game with a 7-1 record and a 2.96 ERA, arguably amidst his best season since 2012. With the Chicago offense still performing sporadically, it could be a long night for the reigning World Series champs.
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Chicago (38-37) is batting .255 as a team this month, up from a dreadful .215 clip in the month of May. Pieces like Willson Contreras and Anthony Rizzo have heated up, but injuries (Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, Addison Russell) continue to play a big role. Last season, the team seemed to avoid any major losses en route to 103 wins.
Opposite Gonzalez, Butler needs to make a statement. In his last start, he lasted only four innings, surrendering one run. In fact, the former first-rounder failed to pitch six full innings in every outing since May 12 – his first start as a Cub.
Breaking down the starting lineups
Chicago (38-37) opens a four-game set against the Nationals (45-30) at Nationals Park Monday night in Washington, D.C. First pitch is at 6:05 pm. CT.
670 AM WSCR carries the radio broadcast and Len and J.D. can be seen on CSN Chicago.