Series Preview: Nationals vs Cubs

The Nationals continue to play host to the N.L. Central as they prepare to face off with the Cubs for a four-game series. Washington has had an inconsistent two weeks, posting a 5-5 record which is the good news that they finished at .500. But they had a chance to make more progress as they had won two consecutive series before this past weekend, when the Nationals dropped two of three to the Pirates but managed to avoid a sweep and defeated the Pirates 7-2 on Sunday. After the four-game set, the Nationals will head west to begin a six-game road trip against the Diamondbacks and Giants.

After a series win against the Padres, the Cubs couldn’t continue their success, as they were swept by the Nationals’ divisional foe, the Miami Marlins. The Cubs will want to get back in the win column against a poor Nationals team. Meanwhile, the Nationals aren’t tallying wins at home, as they’ve only won three home games this season.

The Nationals sit at the bottom of the N.L. East with a 10-17 record, heading into this Cubs series. President of baseball operations, Mike Rizzo, announced two roster moves on Monday afternoon, as the Nationals will shift their starting rotation.

Tale of the Tape

Divisional Standings5th3rd
All-Time matchup record327-305305-327
Team Average.252 (12).276 (2)
Runs104 (27)146 (T-7)
Hits233 (15)258 (5)
Home Runs15 (30)37 (T-8)
K%18.3% (1)21.4% (10)
OBP.320 (16).347 (2)
ERA4.26 (16)3.64 (9)
WHIP1.41 (24)1.20 (T-7)
Run Differential-26(24)+43 (4)
Errors18 (T-4)14 (T-13)

Quick Hits

MacKenzie Gore will get his sixth start of the season on Monday night. The left-hander is 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA and 35 strikeouts to start the season.

The Cubs’ offense has power, with the third-ranked slugging percentage (.448) and 37 home runs (37).

Meanwhile, the Nationals have trouble hitting the ball over the wall as their last in the LB with 15 home runs through 27 games.

Washington has the third-lowest slugging percentage in baseball (.351) but is 12th in the MLB with a .253 batting average.

In all 27 games this season, the Nationals have been the underdog.

Scouting the Lineup

Projected starting lineupABBAHHRRBIOPSWAR
2B Nico Hoerner119.32839217.8041.5
SS Dansby Swanson98.2862817.7591.1
LF Ian Happ96.29228214.8530.6
RF Seiya Suzuki59.2541516.706-0.1
1B Trey Mancini88.26123314.680-0.6
CF Cody Bellinger91.29727718.9761.5
3B Patrick Wisdom92.250231020.9651.0
C Yan Gomes67.29920513.8520.5
DH Nelson Velazquez20.2637361.3350.5

The Cubbies are off to a hot start in 2023, thanks to their elite hitting. The Cubs added a new face to the franchise last offseason, signing Dansby Swanson to a mega contract. Swanson will join Nico Hoerner in the infield, making one of the best infields in the National League. Swanson slashed .277/.329/.447 with 25 home runs last year in Atlanta. However, some stats prove the shortstop was lucky last year, as he posted a .257 xBA. Hoener is leading Chicago with a .328 batting average and is sixth in all of baseball. It’ll be hard to contain the Cubs’ contact hitters, as their lowest OPS is .680. Ian Happ is the third hitter in the lineup, having a career year last season as he hit .271/.342/.440 with 17 home runs, suitable for a 120 wRC+. Former Nationals catcher Yan Gomes is in the everyday lineup and has started the season with a .852 OPS.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Mon 5/1 – Drew Smyly (2-1) 3.21 ERA vs. MacKenzie Gore (2-1) 3.43 ERA

Tues 5/2 – Hayden Wesneski (2-1) 5.24 ERA vs. Trevor Williams (1-1) 4.10 ERA

Wed 5/3 – Marcus Stroman (2-2) 2.29 ERA vs. TBD

Thu 5/4 – TBD vs. Patrick Corbin (1-4) 5.74 ERA

Betting Nuggets

Favorite: Cubs (-140)

Underdog: Nationals (+115)

Over/Under: 8.5

Broadcast Information

Television: Nationals fans will be able to watch all three games against the Twins on MASN. Bob Carpenter will handle play-by-play duties, with Kevin Frandsen as the color analyst. Dan Kolko will report from the field. MASN’s television territory covers all or parts of six states and the District of Columbia, from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to Charlotte, N.C., including Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Local Radio: 106.7 is the flagship station of the Washington Nationals. Find all listings here. Play-by-play broadcasters Dave Jageler and Charlie Slowes will call the action. All games will be available to listen to on the radio.

Prediction: The Nationals are playing at home and this season, they’ve done incredibly poorly at home. However, the Cubs are coming off a rough five-game stretch. Washington should be able to split the series with Chicago.

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