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Preview: Nationals (86-63) at Cubs (67-83)
BT Movements  ·  Line Movements
Game: 2
Venue: Wrigley Field
Date: June 27, 2014 4:05 PM EDT
  

Wilson Ramos is back and Bryce Harper isn't far behind, but having Tanner Roark on the mound could be just as important for the Washington Nationals.

Roark will try to get the NL East leaders untracked by winning a fifth straight start Friday night against the Chicago Cubs.

Ramos has lost 53 games to injuries this season, while Harper has been on the disabled list since April 27 due to left thumb surgery. The star left fielder could be back Monday against Colorado, and Washington (41-37) will be hoping for a smooth transition.

They got that from Ramos on Thursday when he returned from a 14-game absence due to a hamstring injury and had two hits while scoring a run in a 5-3 loss to the Cubs (33-44).

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While Ramos has two hits in each of his past three games and a .364 average over his last 14, the Nationals' chances of bouncing back in this four-game set could rest on Roark (7-4, 2.79 ERA).

The right-hander leads the team in wins and has already matched his total from last season. He's won four straight starts behind a 1.48 ERA and with the help of 17 total runs of support. He got 11 over his previous five outings - a big reason why he went 1-3 despite a 2.20 ERA.

Roark's recent success continued Sunday during a 4-1 win over Atlanta in which he yielded one run and four hits while battling through 96 pitches in 5 1-3 innings.

"He wasn't throwing it exactly where he wanted to, but he was able to work through it," manager Matt Williams said. "He wanted to stay in the game when I went and got him."

Roark's only meeting with the Cubs came out of the bullpen at Wrigley Field on Aug. 21, when he was credited with an 11-6 win despite giving up two runs in 1 2-3 innings.

Denard Span is 6 for 17 (.353) with four RBIs over his last five games there. The center fielder doubled twice and drove in two runs Tuesday, but was involved in a bizarre incident when he lost a fly ball in the fog.

"Just rough conditions," Span said. "Nothing you can do to prepare for that. I don't think I've ever played in a game with that much fog."

Despite winning the series opener, Chicago has dropped four of six while hitting .198.

Anthony Rizzo is providing a rare bright spot, going 14 for 32 (.438) with three homers and six RBIs in the last eight games. He had three hits Thursday and owns a .375 career average versus Washington.

Jason Hammel (6-5, 2.99) will also look to continue his success against the Nationals. The right-hander is 6-0 with a 3.15 ERA in eight career starts, winning the last two with Baltimore while allowing three runs - two earned - with 18 strikeouts in 16 innings.

Hammel, who has forced Span to go 1 for 10, enters this meeting among the NL leaders with a career-best 1.02 WHIP. He was just as effective Sunday, allowing two runs and six hits in seven innings while not getting any run support in a 2-1 loss to Pittsburgh.

Despite the defeat, it was an improvement for Hammel, who had allowed eight runs and 19 hits in 11 innings while going 0-1 over his previous two outings.

"It's coming back," he told the team's website of his slider. "The command of the slider and the heater are coming back, so I feel pretty good about it."

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

 SERIES AT A GLANCE
GAME 1
Nationals at Cubs
Thu, Jun 26 Final 3 to 5
 Boxscores    Recaps
GAME 2
Nationals at Cubs
Fri, Jun 27 Final 2 to 7
 Boxscores    Recaps
GAME 3
Nationals at Cubs
Sat, Jun 28 Final 3 to 0
 Boxscores    Recaps
GAME 4
Cubs at Red Sox
Mon, Jun 30 Final 2 to 0
 Boxscores    Recaps
GAME 5
Cubs at Red Sox
Tue, Jul 1 Final 2 to 1
 Boxscores    Recaps
GAME 6
Cubs at Red Sox
Wed, Jul 2 Final 16 to 9
 Boxscores    Recaps
GAME 7
Cubs at Nationals
Fri, Jul 4 Final 7 to 2
 Boxscores    Recaps
GAME 8
Cubs at Nationals
Sat, Jul 5 Final 0 to 13
 Boxscores    Recaps
GAME 9
Cubs at Nationals
Sun, Jul 6 Final 1 to 2
 Boxscores    Recaps

 CURRENT LAS VEGAS LINE
 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 WAS  -115   +140   7.5 
 CHC  +105   -160   
LAS VEGAS LINE MOVEMENTS

 CURRENT SPORTSBOOK LINE
 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 WAS  -122   +135   7.5 
 CHC  +112   -155   
OFFSHORE LINE MOVEMENTS

 BETTING TRENDS
 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 WAS  79%   57%   37% 
 CHC  21%   43%   63% 
BT MOVEMENTS

 MLB PREVIEWS
 Friday, Jun 27
 
    Rays at Orioles
1:05 PM EDT
    Nationals at Cubs
4:05 PM EDT
    Rays at Orioles
7:05 PM EDT
    Red Sox at Yankees
7:05 PM EDT
    White Sox at Blue Jays
7:05 PM EDT
    Braves at Phillies
7:05 PM EDT
    Mets at Pirates
7:05 PM EDT
    Athletics at Marlins
7:10 PM EDT
    Twins at Rangers
8:05 PM EDT
    Angels at Royals
8:10 PM EDT
    Rockies at Brewers
8:10 PM EDT
    Tigers at Astros
8:10 PM EDT
    Indians at Mariners
10:10 PM EDT
    Cardinals at Dodgers
10:10 PM EDT
    Diamondbacks at Padres
10:10 PM EDT
    Reds at Giants
10:15 PM EDT
 
 
 
  
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