The Washington Nationals begin a four-game series against the Chicago Cubs tonight; here are five players to keep an eye on.
The Washington Nationals are coming off of a weekend set against the Cincinnati Reds in which they took two of three. The two wins were both very exciting, a come from behind walk-off victory and an 18 run game. However, the lone loss was a game to forget, with Tanner Roark allowing six total runs in the first two innings.
The Chicago Cubs, the defending World Series champions, have not been the same this year. After winning their first title in 108 years, the Cubs have come out sluggish in 2017. It’s almost July, and they’re only one game above .500.
After Kyle Schwarber missed most of 2016 with a severe knee injury and miraculously returned to hit .412 in the World Series, he has hit below the Mendoza line in 2017 and was recently sent to AAA. Schwarber is not the only struggling Cub; several of their stars from 2016 haven’t fared well in 2017.
The Nats struggled against the Cubs in 2016, going 2-5. Although the Cubs easily won the season series, the Nats played them much closer at home, winning two of the three matchups at Nationals Park.
Both teams are currently dealing with various injuries, specifically in the outfield. Out of the two teams’ combined six Opening Day outfielders, only one is currently on the roster.
The Nats Opening Day outfield was Jayson Werth, Adam Eaton, and Bryce Harper. Werth and Eaton are both currently on the Disabled List. The Cubs Opening Day outfield was Schwarber, Jason Heyward, and Ben Zobrist. As mentioned earlier, Schwarber is currently in AAA, while Heyward and Zobrist are both on the Disabled List.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at five key players for what should be an entertaining series and a possible postseason preview.