Game 111 lineups: Nats at Cubs

CHICAGO – There’s no kind way to put this: The Nationals are in an awful state right now. This season already was bad before the trade deadline, and it’s only gotten worse since (which, considering who they dealt away, isn’t shocking at all). There was that one inspiring win over the Mets on deadline day, but there have been five straight losses since. In four of those games, they’ve trailed by at least six runs at some point. In three of those, they’ve trailed by at least nine runs at some point.

There’s not a whole lot of reason to be optimistic about what’s still to come over the season’s final 52 games, but maybe the Nats are due to catch a little bit of a break the next three weeks when they face a Cubs team that owns the second-worst record in the National League. If the Nationals can’t give themselves a chance to win two of three here at Wrigley Field, what hope is there?

It’s going to have to start with starting pitching, because the current rotation keeps digging this team into holes it can’t climb out of. And Aníbal Sánchez has been as guilty of that as anybody. The 38-year-old has made four starts to date and is 0-4 with a 7.65 ERA. He’s reached the sixth inning only once, and in that game he still gave up six runs. The home run has been a real problem for Sánchez (six allowed in only 20 innings), but with the wind blowing in from left field tonight, maybe that helps him a bit.

The Nationals lineup faces right-hander Keegan Thompson in the series opener, and he’s been something of a bright spot for the Cubs, entering with an 8-5 record and 3.48 ERA. He has been roughed up in two of his last three starts, though.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at CHICAGO CUBS
Where:
Wrigley Field
Gametime: 8:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Cloudy, 71 degrees, wind 16 mph in from left field

NATIONALS
CF Victor Robles
SS Luis García
1B Luke Voit
DH Nelson Cruz
LF Yadiel Hernandez
C Keibert Ruiz
RF Lane Thomas
2B César Hernández
3B Maikel Franco

RHP Aníbal Sánchez

CUBS
CF Rafael Ortega
C Willson Contreras 
LF Ian Happ 
RF Seiya Suzuki 
1B Patrick Wisdom
SS Nico Hoerner
DH Nelson Velázquez 
2B Nick Madrigal 
3B Christopher Morel 

RHP Keegan Thompson

Starters' woes leave Nats facing some big question...
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