The Chicago Cubs have an excellent chance to sweep the Washington Nationals this evening. This would be their first sweep under interim manager Mike Quade. It would happen in the fewest games possible, since this is just their third game played under him. There are a number of factors that will be in their favor.
Jesse Sanchez has posted an article at the Chicago Cubs’ website titled “Cubs go for first sweep under Quade.”
Ryan Dempster is going to start for the Cubs. He, along with Carlos Silva, is the leading hurler for the “Baby Bears.”
Ryan Dempster (11-8, 3.56 ERA) is one of the factors favoring the Cubs in tonight’s game. He will be going against Jason Marquis (0-6, 11.39 ERA). Dempster was hot in his last outing in, going eight innings. He is 6-1, with a 3.18 ERA lifetime against the Nationals. On the other hand, Jason Marquis’ record and ERA speak for themselves. He is not having a good year. These issues combine to give the Cubs the edge in pitching.
One issue that is not helping the Cubs is that of Marlon Byrd. Byrd was hit by a pitch on Monday. He is day-to-day as a result of that. As Sanchez reports, this injury ties a club record of 17 “hit by pitches.” It is hurting the Cubs since, Byrd was on fire, hitting safely in 21 of his last 27 games.
Another benefit the Cubs have is momentum. Since Mike Quade took over, the Cubs have won. In addition to winning is the fact they have been a different team emotionally. They are excited. It is obvious they are having fun. Achieving two wins in a row and having a chance to sweep is important.
A final issue that favors the Cubs is the state of the Nationals. Where the Cubs were once the team that had nothing to play for, the Nationals now are the team whose temperature registers a little below Chicago.
Can anything happen with 35 games to play when a team is 18 games back? Nothing is likely to happen. However, if something were to happen, it would be with a quiet turnaround with something like a sweep.