Cubs Vs. Nationals Preview: Chicago Begins Four-Game Set In Washington Monday

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 24: Starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija #29 of the Chicago Cubs delivers the ball against the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field on August 24, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Cubs and Nationals begin a four-game series Monday in Washington

About the only positive going for the Chicago Cubs right now is that they will not have to face Stephen Strasburg in their upcoming four-game set this week in Washington.

Instead, the Cubs will face the challenge of Ross Detwiler, Edwin Jackson, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmerman.

Jeff Samardzija takes the mound Monday for the Cubs, who have lost 10 of their last 14 games and now find themselves 30 games back of the division-leading Cincinnati Reds and 51-82 overall. Samardzija has pitched well of late, allowing more than two earned runs only twice in nine starts since the All-Star game. Still, in a record that reflects the Chicago offense more than Samardzija's performances, he is 2-4 in that time and 8-12 overall.

Ross Detwiler begins the series for the Washington Nationals who look to continue their fantastic 2012 season. They enter this week with a seven-game lead over the Atlanta Braves in the NL East.

For more on this series, visit SB Nation's Chicago Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and their Washington Nationals blog Federal Baseball. Follow Baseball Nation for all your up-to-date MLB news and analysis.

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