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Nationals-Cubs Preview

Apr 25, 2010 - 11:48 PM By ALAN FERGUSON STATS Writer

Washington (9-9) at Chicago (8-10), 8:05 p.m. EDT

With their performances over the last five games, the Chicago Cubs have appeared to put their struggles at the plate behind them.

However, a lot of teams are having trouble scoring against the Washington Nationals.

The Cubs will try to keep their offense going Monday night against the surprising Nationals as the teams begin a three-game series at Wrigley Field.

Chicago (9-10) batted an major league-worst .197 in its first six games, then totaled six runs during four consecutive losses April 17-20. The Cubs have come on since that slide, winning four of five while outscoring opponents 36-12 and batting .340 with seven home runs.

Four of those homers came in Sunday's 12-2 rout of Milwaukee to complete a three-game road sweep. Kosuke Fukudome and Tyler Colvin both finished a triple shy of the cycle, and Ryan Theriot matched a career high with five hits.

"We got guys on base, drove them in, hit the ball out of the ballpark," said first baseman Derrek Lee, who homered along with Fukudome, Colvin and Geovany Soto. "It makes the game a lot easier when you score some runs."

Scoring may be easier said than done against a Nationals team that has a 2.02 ERA in its last five games and completed a 6-4 homestand with Sunday's 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Scott Olsen earned the win, while Tyler Clippard and Matt Capps shut the Dodgers down over the final two innings. Closer Capps and setup man Clippard each have an ERA under one, heading a bullpen that's allowed one run and eight hits over its last 15 innings. The Nationals (10-9) had an NL-worst 5.00 ERA in 2009, and a 6.29 ERA through the first 14 games this season.

"It just shows how far our pitching's come," outfielder Justin Maxwell said. "For the most part, when we've won our games, we have great starts and our bullpen's been solid."

Nationals opening-day starter John Lannan (1-1, 5.82 ERA) will try to continue the run of strong pitching. The Nationals have won the left-hander's last three starts, though he's failed to earn a decision in his last two. Lannan allowed four runs in six innings of Wednesday's 6-4 victory over Colorado.

He's 2-1 with a 3.15 ERA in three career starts against the Cubs, with the loss coming last July 16 in a 6-2 home defeat that kicked off a four-game sweep for Chicago. Washington, however, took two of three at Wrigley Field from Aug. 25-27 for its first series win there since a three-game sweep July 1-3, 2005.

Chicago batted .300 last season against Washington - its highest average versus any opponent. Mike Fontenot batted .444 (8 for 18) in those seven games, but double-play partner Ryan Theriot hit just .143 (4 for 28).

This time around, Theriot comes in swinging a hot bat. He's 14 for 25 in his last five games.

If Theriot continues to hit, Cubs starter Carlos Silva (2-0, 0.95) could get similar support to the kind he's received in back-to-back wins (13 runs).

The right-hander hasn't even needed that support.

Acquired in the Milton Bradley trade after two injury-plagued seasons in Seattle, Silva has been a revelation in Chicago. In his latest effort Wednesday night in New York, he yielded one run and two hits over six innings of a 9-3 win.

Silva, who hasn't won three straight starts since July 26-Aug. 5, 2006, will need a better effort than in his only previous outing against the Nationals to repeat that feat.

He was tagged for seven runs over three innings in an 8-5 home loss for Minnesota on June 8, 2007.








  • Cubs 4, Nationals 3 - FINAL
    WASHINGTON ab r h rbi bb so lob avg
    N Morgan cf 5 1 2 0 0 1 0 .293
    I Desmond ss 5 1 2 0 0 1 0 .241
    C Guzman 2b 5 0 0 0 0 0 4 .288
    A Dunn 1b 5 0 3 0 0 1 0 .239
    J Willingham lf 4 1 2 1 1 0 1 .317
    A Kennedy 3b 3 0 0 1 0 0 2 .212
    W Nieves

    Apr 26 10:53 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO ARAMIS RAMIREZ SCORED RYAN THERIOT
    FINAL SCORE - CHICAGO CUBS 4, WASHINGTON 3.

    Nationals 3, Cubs 4  Bot 10, 0 OutsApr 26 10:51 PM
  • 125
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 31 roots (Extra Innings)

    Nationals 3, Cubs 3  Top 10, 0 OutsApr 26 10:32 PM
  • 94
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 72 roots (Close Finish)

    Nationals 3, Cubs 3  Bot 7, 0 OutsApr 26 9:47 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY WIL NIEVES SCORED JOSH WILLINGHAM
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, W NIEVES ON FIRST, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 3
    CHICAGO CUBS 3 TOP,6TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: W TAVERAS (.160, 0-FOR-2)

    Nationals 3, Cubs 3  Top 6, 0 OutsApr 26 9:31 PM
  • 22
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 22 roots

    Nationals 3, Cubs 3  Top 6, 0 OutsApr 26 9:31 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY ADAM KENNEDY SCORED IAN DESMOND
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J WILLINGHAM ON FIRST, A DUNN ON SECOND, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 2
    CHICAGO CUBS 3 TOP,4TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: W NIEVES (.200, 0-FOR-1)

    Nationals 2, Cubs 3  Top 4, 0 OutsApr 26 9:02 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO JOSH WILLINGHAM SCORED NYJER MORGAN
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J WILLINGHAM ON FIRST, A DUNN ON SECOND, I
    DESMOND ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 1
    CHICAGO CUBS 3 TOP,4TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: A KENNEDY (.220, 0-FOR-1)

    Nationals 1, Cubs 3  Top 4, 0 OutsApr 26 9:00 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MARLON BYRD SCORED JEFF BAKER
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M BYRD ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 0
    CHICAGO CUBS 3 BOTTOM,3RD
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: A RAMIREZ (.151, 1-FOR-1, RBI)

    Nationals 0, Cubs 3  Bot 3, 0 OutsApr 26 8:51 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO CARLOS SILVA SCORED ARAMIS RAMIREZ
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, C SILVA ON FIRST, T COLVIN ON SECOND, G
    SOTO ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 0
    CHICAGO CUBS 2 BOTTOM,2ND
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: R THERIOT (.325, 0-FOR-1)

    Nationals 0, Cubs 2  Bot 2, 0 OutsApr 26 8:36 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY ARAMIS RAMIREZ SCORED MARLON BYRD
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A RAMIREZ ON SECOND, 0 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 0
    CHICAGO CUBS 1 BOTTOM,2ND
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: A SORIANO (.300, 2 HR, 7 RBI)

    Nationals 0, Cubs 1  Bot 2, 0 OutsApr 26 8:28 PM