The Chicago Cubs bid for their fourth straight victory when they host the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.
Chicago has erupted for 18 runs during its winning streak. The Cubs posted a 6-3 victory over the Nationals on Tuesday night to improve to 10-5 in May.
“Are we a perfect team? No, I don’t think we’re a perfect team,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “But we’re a team that comes to work every day with a mentality to try to win that ballgame that day.”
Meanwhile, Washington is trying to find its footing after a disappointing start to the season. The Nationals have lost 10 of their last 14 games and have been outscored 24-13 in their past four contests.
Washington will turn to right-hander Max Scherzer (3-2, 2.10 ERA) to try to dig out of its slump. Scherzer has won his past two decisions, including his most recent outing on Friday in which he fanned seven hitters in five scoreless innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Nationals manager Dave Martinez pulled Scherzer after 85 pitches versus the Diamondbacks. The veteran pitcher was dealing with a sore throat and had endured a heavy workload in prior starts.
“He gave us what he had and I thought it was a perfect time to get him out of the game and give him a little blow,” Martinez said. “He’s been really good, and we want to keep him healthy.
“He’s been going 106, 110, 109 (pitches), so to give him a quick five innings, 85 pitches of work, was good. It was a good day. We were able to score a lot of runs and get him out of there.”
On the season, the 36-year-old Scherzer has 68 strikeouts in 51 1/3 innings. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has a career mark of 178-95 with a 3.19 ERA and 2,852 strikeouts.
Scherzer is 4-2 with a 2.75 ERA in nine career starts against the Cubs.
The Cubs will counter with right-hander Jake Arrieta (4-3, 4.10 ERA), who is coming off a victory Friday after limiting the Detroit Tigers to two runs on four hits in six innings. Arrieta has four quality starts in seven outings this season, and he has surrendered more than three runs on only one occasion.
Arrieta owns a 2-3 record with a 4.45 ERA in 17 career starts against the Nationals. He earned a victory in his lone meeting against Washington in 2020, allowing one run on three hits in five innings.
Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo’s status is uncertain after he exited Tuesday’s contest because of lower-back tightness. The Cubs said the move was precautionary.
Kris Bryant moved over to first base in the fifth inning to replace Rizzo.
“I just went down (to talk to him) and I told him, ‘Hey, like I can play for you. Please don’t do anything stupid. We need you for the long haul,'” Bryant said. “He’s had back trouble before. But I kind of talked to him, he’s in good spirits.”
–Field Level Media