Monday, August 23, 2010

Series Preview: Cubs VS Nationals

The Chicago Cubs will look to rebound after an embarrassing 16-5 defeat in Sunday's rubber match against the Braves. The Boys in Blue are now 51-74, 21.5 game behind the first place Reds. A new era of Cubs baseball begins with this series in Washington D.C.

Lou Piniella announced before yesterday's game that it would be his last as a big league manager. Sweet Lou had to step down earlier than expected in order to tend to his sick mother in Tampa, FL. He said it would be unfair to continue to leave the team and come back, so since it was his last year anyways he went ahead and stepped down.

Lou had a fantastic managerial career but he did not go out the way he had hoped. Third base coach Mike Quade will have a tall task ahead as he takes over as skipper for at least the rest of 2010. All eyes will be on the dugout tonight the new interim becomes the 51st manager in the history of the Chicago Cubs.

Quade and Ryne Sandberg are the two candidates that Jim Hendry has announced for the 2011 opening. Bench coach Alan Trammell will not receive consideration and will most likely leave the team after this season. Ivan DeJesus, who was the Cubs first base coach, will take over Quade's job at third for the rest of the year. Bruce Levine reported last night that minor league roving instructor Bobby Dernier will join the team as the first base coach, but that has not yet been confirmed. Matt Sinatro is also a candidate to take over at first for now.

The Washington Nationals are not in much better shape than the Cubs. They are 53-71 going into this set. The Nats had a decent first half, but they've gone down hill since and now reside in the basement of the NL East. They are 20 games behind the first place Braves.

Washington was blanked in the final game against the Phillies on Sunday 6-0. Ex-Cubs manager Jim Riggleman has not been able to get the job done this season. Third base coach Pat Listach will also receive a lot of attention from the media during this series. He is a former Cubs minor league manager at Triple-A Iowa and has expressed interesting in coming in as Lou's successor next season.

After the Cubs leave town at head for Cincinnati, the St. Louis Cardinals will come to Nationals Park looking to regain the top spot in the Central. This is the Cubs first trip to our nation's capital of the year, but they did host the Nats back in April. The Boys in Blue won the first game, but Washington battled back to win the next two.

Young phenom Stephen Strasburgh will not pitch in this series, but the Cubs will see a familiar face in Jason Marquis on Wednesday. Washington first baseman and free agent to be Adam Dunn could receive a look from the scouts in this set, as the Cubs could be looking for a new first baseman this winter.

Unless of coarse, Jim Hendry is happy with Tyler Colvin's play at first. Colvin sat out most of the weekend at Wrigley in order to take grounders at first base and is expected to debut there during this series. However, Colvin is in tonight's early lineup in right field.

Perhaps Quade and his staff were not happy with Tyler's play at first, because Micah Hoffpauir has been called up for tonight's game, according to a tweet from Gordon Wittenmyer. Geovany Soto is also expected to be activated from the disabled list and in the starting nine tonight. The club will have to make two corresponding moves, so most likely Sam Fuld and Welington Castillo are both headed back to Triple-A without getting much of a chance during there time with the team.

Perhaps the Cubs will pull off an Oriole-like win streak under a new skipper.

Let's just go get a win!

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