Gio Gonzalez is 6th in NL ERA this season, and a shutout by Gio in tonight’s game would move him into 3rd place and almost assure him of an All-Star pick. It is tonight’s opposing manager, Joe Maddon, who will have the pick of many of the starting pitchers for the 2017 NL All-Star roster.
The Nationals have had their share of issues with the Cubs and mostly in the way they kept walking Bryce Harper last year to pitch to Ryan Zimmerman. In the Sunday series finale on May 8th of last year, Maddon intentionally walked Bryce Harper 3 times and walked him rather intentionally 3 more times in front of Zimmerman who set an MLB record stranding 14 men-on-base in a game.
Harper seemed to go into a tailspin after that series, and Zimmerman has almost been traumatized since that series in bases loaded situations. It is hard to believe how poorly Zimmerman bats in bases loaded. Just this past week he grounded into a doubleplay with bases loaded to bring his batting average in those situations since 2016 to a 2-for-22 record (.091 BA) with a 50% K rate including the NLDS. In Zim’s career until the 2016 season, he was a .310 batter with bases loaded.
Many are hoping that Dusty Baker for those reasons bats Daniel Murphy after Bryce Harper to force Maddon to pitch to Harper. We will see what the line-up card looks like against the Cubs starting right-hander Eddie Butler.
Coincidentally, Butler is from the same area as Ryan Zimmerman, and they know who each other is. Butler is only 26-years-old and came over to the Cubs via a trade with the Colorado Rockies.
Here is the Nats stats against Butler:
Stay tuned also for any possible roster moves.
Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, 1500 South Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC 20003
1st Pitch: 7:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN, WUSA9, MLB Network (out-of-market), Comcast Chicago, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® XM 188 Sirius 138 (Internet 869)
Line-ups (subject to change without notice):
- Trea Turner SS
- Brian Goodwin LF
- Bryce Harper RF
- Ryan Zimmerman 1B
- Daniel Murphy 2B
- Anthony Rendon 3B
- Matt Wieters C
- Michael Taylor CF
- Gio Gonzalez LHP