Cubs-Nationals Preview

With two of the big bats in their lineup ailing, the Washington

Nationals need Jayson Werth to step up.

The struggling slugger proved to be up to the task in the series

opener against the Chicago Cubs.

Werth looks to build on one of his most productive games of the

season and help the banged-up Nationals take the first two in their

series with the Cubs on Tuesday night.

In Monday’s 5-4 victory, Werth recorded his first two-RBI game

since May 31 and scored the winning run in the bottom of the 10th

on a wild pitch by Carlos Marmol. Werth was in position to score

after stealing third earlier in the at-bat.

“There was no sign for that,” manager Davey Johnson said. “It

was just his read – and boom – he’s over there. That’s a winning


Werth played despite leaving Sunday’s 10-2 loss to Pittsburgh

after getting hit by a pitch on his left wrist. Johnson said he

would have liked to rest him, but Washington (43-43) started

without third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (sore abdomen) and first

baseman Michael Morse (bruised forearm).

Zimmerman, who had surgery on his abdomen in April, pinch hit in

the seventh inning but was immediately removed after drawing a


Morse, who has a chance to make the All-Star game as part of

Final Vote, has sat out the last two games after being hit on the

right forearm Saturday, and could miss a few more.

These injuries open the door for Werth, batting .160 in his last

28 contests, to lead the offense.

The Nationals are 16-6 when Werth drives in a run and 27-37 when

he doesn’t. They have won all five of his multi-RBI games.

“I’d like to get going a little bit offensively, but as long as

we’re winning and I’m helping the team win, doing the little

things, I’m satisfied with it,” Werth said.

Washington won for the third time in eight games under


The Cubs (35-51), losers of 11 of 17, had a seven-game winning

streak at Nationals Park snapped in the opener of a seven-game


Aramis Ramirez had two of Chicago’s 10 hits, and is batting .409

with seven homers, 11 RBIs and 14 runs in his last 12 games.

After Casey Coleman made a spot start for the ailing Ryan

Dempster (illness and sore back) in the opener, the Cubs will go

with another minor leaguer on Tuesday with Ramon Ortiz scheduled to

make his season debut in place of Carlos Zambrano (back).

Ortiz made his major league debut in 1999 but has only appeared

in 16 games since 2008 – all with the Los Angeles Dodgers last

season. The Cubs signed the 38-year-old right-hander in April, and

he has gone 6-3 with a 4.26 ERA in 16 starts for Triple-A Iowa.

Ortiz, who lost a career-worst 16 games for the Nationals in

2006, is 1-1 with a 4.84 ERA in five games against the Washington


“We’ll take a look at his Tuesday start and see where we go from

there,” manager Mike Quade told the Cubs’ official website.

The Nationals are also slated to start a minor leaguer.

Because of Saturday’s doubleheader, Ross Detwiler is expected to

be called up from Triple-A Syracuse. The left-hander was 6-6 with a

4.53 ERA in 16 starts for the Chiefs.

Detwiler, 1-3 with a 4.25 ERA in eight games – five starts –

last year, has appeared in 24 games over three seasons with the

Nationals and has never faced the Cubs.