Even after losing the last two games, the Washington Nationals still come into today’s game at Wrigley Field with the second-best record in the National League. However, they’ve looked like just another ordinary ballclub the past two days after running into the juggernaut that is the 2016 Chicago Cubs, who’ll be looking to lock up a series victory with another win this afternoon.
Veteran right-hander Jason Hammel will take the mound for the North Siders today and he’ll be aiming to stay undefeated on a couple of different levels. He’s still undefeated on the season at 4-0 and has the fourth-best ERA in the National League. In fact, he technically had his worst outing of the season on Monday against the Pirates and only gave up two runs. That’s the only time this year he’s allowed more than one run to cross the plate.
Hammel will also be looking to maintain his complete dominance of the Washington Nationals. In his career, he’s a perfect 9-0 against the franchise with a solid 3.01 ERA. He’ll hope to continue that trend today against a Washington lineup that’s been up and down against him. He’s held Bryce Harper to a 2-for-14 career line against him, but second baseman Daniel Murphy, who just seems to be hitting everything this year, has had some success against him with a .545 average (6-for-11). Murphy is hitting a league-leading .406 on the season after four more hits in Friday’s game.
The Nationals will counter with Gio Gonzalez, who actually is one of only three pitchers in the National League with a better ERA than Hammel. His 1.15 ranks second in the NL behind only Jake Arrieta. The high-powered Cubs offense will look to get to him early behind leadoff man Dexter Fowler, who’s been successful against him, going 6-for-14 with a double, a home run and two runs batted in.
Here’s everything else you need to know about today’s matchup at the Friendly Confines.
Washington Nationals (19-10) at Chicago Cubs (22-6)
Time: 3:05 PM CT
Location: Wrigley Field
Radio: 670 The Score
TV: CSN, FS1
Starting Pitchers: Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 1.15 ERA) vs Jason Hammel (4-0, 1.24 ERA)