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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, April 8th (All times Eastern)

Washington Nationals (2-0) at Chicago Cubs (0-2), 2:20 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Washington - Jordan Zimmermann (0-0, 0.00) Chicago - Jeff Samardzija (0-0, 0.00)

(Sports Network) - Jordan Zimmermann takes the mound today, trying to help the Nationals cap their first three-game sweep at Wrigley Field in nearly seven years.

Both of Washington's wins thus far have come in come-from-behind fashion. The Nats scored single runs in the eighth and ninth innings on Thursday for a 2-1 victory, and then Saturday pinch-hitter Chad Tracy stroked a go-ahead two-run single to highlight a five-run eighth in a 7-4 final.

"That's the kind of bench I like to have," said Washington manager Davey Johnson. "People come in the game and get hits."

Tyler Clippard worked around a two-out walk in the home eighth and Henry Rodriguez issued a leadoff walk to Ian Stewart in the ninth before fanning Starlin Castro, pinch-hitter Blake DeWitt and Jeff Baker to notch his first save.

"I think this is one of the best bullpens in baseball," Johnson added about his relief staff that surrendered one hit over the final 5 1/3 innings. "Everybody did their job and the offense came alive. That's how you win games on the road."

Zimmermann, who went 8-11 with a 3.18 ERA in 26 starts last year, struggled at the start by dropping four of his first five decisions. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA in three games vs. the Cubs.

After spending all or part of four seasons mostly in Chicago's bullpen, Jeff Samardzija enters the rotation and makes his first start of the season this afternoon. The right-hander made 75 relief appearances last season, going 8-4 with a 2.97 ERA. He has made seven relief outings against the Nationals.

Washington won four of the seven meetings last season.

04/08 10:28:33 ET