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

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Jun 1, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jason Hammel (39) throws against the Miami Marlins during the first inning at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Hammel (4-2, 2.82) vs. TBA – 12:05 PM ET, MASN

As of right now, the Washington Nationals do not have a starter listed for Saturday afternoon because they had to move Jordan Zimmermann up to Tuesday due to the rainout from Monday. However, the starter for the Cubs is known and he is coming off a great outing.

Jason Hammel, who the Cubs re-signed this offseason after trading him to Oakland last July, is coming off a great start on June 1. In that game against the Miami Marlins, he went 6.2 innings, gave up one run on five hits, struck out 11 and did not walk a batter. While Hammel only won one game in May, his ERA was 2.57 in five starts and opponents hit only .187 against them.

The one thing Nationals have to know when they go up against Hammel is that he is going to pound the strike zone. In ten starts, the 32-year-old right-hander has seven walks and has walked one batter or fewer in his last four. As far as earned runs go, he has only given up more than four runs in a game twice.

Hammel has been dominant against Washington in his career. In ten starts against them, he is 8-0 with a 3.11 ERA. Last year, he was 2-0 with a 2.92 ERA against the Nats. While Ryan Zimmerman is a .355 hitter against Hammel with a home run, Bryce Harper is 0-for-10 with five strikeouts.

Advantage: It will be interesting to see if Williams elects to use Zimmermann on short rest for this start after throwing 105 pitches, but I doubt that will be the case. If the Nats have to use another starter from the minor leagues or a long man, Hammel has the edge on paper and has been pitching well of late. The Cubs get the win on Saturday afternoon.

Next: Sunday's Game