Pregame news and notes from Wrigley Field

CHICAGO - It's tough to conjure up a tougher challenge for the Nationals than the one they face today, needing to beat Jake Arrieta to avoid a four-game sweep at Wrigley Field. But they seem to be embracing this matchup against the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, with the reigning NL MVP leading the charge.

"Love that challenge," Bryce Harper said. "Being able to go against one of the best in baseball, what better on Mother's Day? It's going to be a lot of fun to go out there and face one of the best in baseball."

harper-henley-low-five-gray-sidebar.jpgDusty Baker will have his best lineup out there against Arrieta. Daniel Murphy is back starting after sitting out most of yesterday's game with an illness. Anthony Rendon, who was battling the same ailment but played yesterday, is in there as well, back in his customary No. 2 spot. Wilson Ramos, hitting .347, is behind the plate.

And Ben Revere is leading off, hoping to pick up where he left off yesterday when he went 2-for-5 with a double, a triple and two runs scored. For the first time, Revere finally felt like a true contributor to this team.

"I feel good up there," said Revere, who had been hitless in his first eight at-bats. "Definitely the first day (off the disabled list), Dusty said: 'Get on that fastball. You haven't had a lot of at-bats this year, just stick on that fastball.' These guys, the Cubs, threw me a lot of off-speed, so to see me hit the off-speed good, I felt really comfortable about that. Just taking it one day at a time. It's kind of still April to me. Hopefully, I can really kick it up and help these boys get back on track."

The Nationals had been waiting for a month to see what kind of impact Revere would have on their lineup. They got a taste of it yesterday.

"Ben looked like Ben Revere today," Baker said after the game. "He had a double and a triple. That's a big positive."

Some other news and notes before this game gets started ...

* The Nationals, like all MLB clubs today, will be wearing special Mother's Day jerseys and caps, in addition to bright pink accessories like wristbands, spikes and batting gloves. The jerseys have "Washington" and the number in pink, while the hats are a slate color with a pink curly W. Baker has customized pink wristbands with his mother's image on them.

* The Nats head home after tonight's game and open a three-game interleague series with the Tigers tomorrow night. The pitching matchups ... Monday: Stephen Strasburg vs. Anibal Sanchez. Tuesday: Joe Ross vs. Michael Fullmer. Wednesday: Max Scherzer vs. Jordan Zimmermann. Yeah, that finale is going to be pretty cool.

Harper walking up a storm at Wrigley (Nats lose 4-...
Game 31 lineups: Nats at Cubs

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