Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs Series Preview (5/5-5/8)
Joe Ross (3-0, 0.79 ERA) vs. Kyle Hendricks (1-2, 3.91) – 8:05 p.m ET, broadcast on MASN2
Even after not pitching in ten days because of a blister on his right middle finger, Ross showed good poise in his last start against the Cardinals. He went six innings, gave up one run on six hits, struck out four, and walked two on 93 pitches to get his third win of the year.
If you take out his start against the Marlins where he left early because of the blister, he has gone six innings or more in the other three starts and has given up one run or fewer. Plus, he has held opponents to a .195 batting average so far this season.
The Cubs have some familiarity with Ross from last season because that was the team he faced last season in his Major League debut (June 6). He went five innings, gave up three runs on six hits, struck out four, and walked none in a loss. Rizzo and Fowler each went 2-for-3 in the game.
As for Hendricks, he is coming into tonight’s start on a long layoff. Due to one of the Cubs games getting rained out over the weekend against the Braves, he has not pitched in a game since April 26 against the Brewers. This season, Henrricks has pitched five innings or more in all four of his starts.
In that outing against Milwaukee, Hendricks went five innings, gave up one run on two hits, struck out four, and walked one in a no-decision. Even though he only averages about 84 pitches per start, the 26-year-old right-hander only has four walks and has shown good command of his pitches.
Last season, he was 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA against the Nats in two starts. Bryce Harper went 1-for-6 against him with a solo home run in those two games.
Prediction: I expect this game to be a close pitcher’s duel with the way both of these pitchers are throwing right now, even with the long layoff for Hendricks. It will come down to the bullpens and while both are strong right now, I give the Cubs the slight edge.
Next: Tomorrow's Matchup