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Game 35: Cubs at Nats

May 10, 2013, 7:39 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Cubs open a three-game series tonight at Nationals Park.

As Dan Haren put it yesterday: "We've come a long way in a week." Sure enough, a Nationals club that was approaching panic-mode not all that long ago enters this weekend's series against the Cubs having won six of seven to improve to 19-15 overall. They're hitting better, they're pitching better, they're playing better defense and they're obviously feeling much better about themselves because of it.

And after a tough stretch that saw them face five consecutive teams with winning records, the Nats now get a three-game set against the Cubs, who are โ€” how shall we put this? โ€” downright awful. Jeff Samardzija, tonight's starter, is solid. And Anthony Rizzo looks like a big piece of their future. But the rest of that roster leaves plenty to be desired.

Ross Detwiler will try to take advantage of that fact in tonight's series opener. No lineup yet from Davey Johnson, but Jayson Werth is expected to be out one last time with his tight hamstring. [UPDATE AT 4:45 P.M. โ€” Not only is Werth out of the lineup again, but Davey says he's likely headed to the DL, still suffering spasms in his hamstring. And on top of all that, Bryce Harper is also out of the lineup tonight after having a procedure to have an ingrown toenail removed. So the Nats are down two men tonight.]

Updates to come…

CHICAGO CUBS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WNEW (99.1 FM), XM 183
Weather: Partly cloudy, 79 degrees, Wind 8 mph out to LF

NATIONALS (19-15)
CF Denard Span
RF Roger Bernadina
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche

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Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
ATLANTA 76 77 13.0
MIAMI 74 79 15.0
NEW YORK 74 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Friday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
LOS ANGELES 88 66 1.5
ST. LOUIS 86 68 3.5
-----------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 69 5.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 70 6.0 --
MILWAUKEE 79 75 10.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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