Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats vs. Cubs (6/4-6/7)

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May 25, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Tanner Roark (57) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Tsuyoshi Wada (0-0, 2.30) vs. Tanner Roark (1-2, 2.59) – 7:05 PM ET, MASN

These two pitchers will face off against each other for the second time this season. Back on Memorial Day, Wada and Roark faced off, with Roark being the victor in the Nats 2-1 win.

While Wada has pitched well in his first three starts this season, Chicago has not given up much run support (six runs). The Cubs are 2-1 in his three outings, but Wada does not go deep into games. The furthest he has gone into an outing this year is 5.2 innings against the Royals in his last outing on May 31.

In that start against the Nats on May 25, Wada went 5.1 innings, gave up one run on four hits, struck out six batters, and walked two. After Denard Span hit a leadoff home run against him in the first, Wada was able to settle into a groove and keep the rest of Washington’s offense off the board.

Roark fared well in that start as well as him and Wada put up good outings and got great defense behind them. Like Wada, Roark gave up a solo home run in the first inning to Kris Bryant, but he held Chicago to three total hits in five innings. He struck out three batters and walked one in his first win of the season.

Last time out, against the Reds, Roark was hurt by the long ball. He only gave up two runs on four hits over six innings, but those runs came via solo shots by Todd Frazier and Brandon Phillips. The good thing to take away from Roark’s no-decision is that his pitch count went from 66 to 92. Now, you might see Roark throw 100 pitches in this start and get back the solid starter he was a season ago.

Even with that good outing on Memorial Day, Roark is 2-2 with a 5.03 ERA in four games. The best hitter on the Cubs against Roark is Chris Coghlan, who is 5-for-11 against them.

Advantage: This is another close game as I think both pitchers are going to keep their respective teams in the game. This one could come down to the bullpens, like it did on Memorial Day. If that is the case, as bad as the Nats bullpen is right now, I still will take Washington and Drew Storen to take game two.

Next: Saturday's Game