Well Livo is back and going for his 3rd win against Hi My Name is... Tom (Gorzelanny). While Gorzelanny is 0-2 and Hernandez is 2-1, it may not be as easy as it looks for the Nats. First, the Nats bats have cooled significantly in the last week or so. And not that they're not getting hits, but they're having trouble capitalizing off of their hits. Second, the Cubbies have gotten hot over the last week, even in the cold Chicago climes. In Gorzelanny's first three starts, his offense gave him almost no run support (although in his second start he left after taking a line drive to the shoulder). The Cubs offense may be ready to do just that.
Hernandez looks to come out and have basically the same type of outing he had last time out against the Rockies. Unfortunately, he pitched against Ubaldo Jimenez, who just came off of a no-no the start before. He was hot. Ideally in this start, he'd rather not give up 2 big flies to lose the game, but at Wrigley Field for a night game early in the season, home runs probably won't be a huge issue. We all saw the driving wind keep in at least 2 home runs last night. Hernandez will continue working to keep is ERA below 1.00, that's right: 1.00, after 4 starts.
The fact of the matter remains: Livan Hernandez looks as good as ever. He has given up 2 runs in 24 innings pitched. It doesn't get any better among starters in the league. He obviously can't keep this type of production going for the entire season, but the longer he can keep this going, the longer the Nats can stay viable until they get some injuries taken care of.
On the injury note, Pudge is back (woot!), but Zimm will remain out, and I would venture a guess he'll be out until the team goes to Florida. However, if the club loses tonight, don't be surprised if Riggs takes his chances on the day game being a bit warmer for Ryan's hurt hammy. The Attorney General gets the start tonight to give Adam Kennedy a night off, only his second of the season.
Note about the lineups to end the post: Both Josh Willingham and Adam Dunn haven't had a day off all season. This is Game 21. At some point, Riggleman will be sure to look for a day off for both of them. However, don't look for it anytime soon as long as the Hammer is still on fire at the plate (1.000 OPS; with team leading 18 BBs) and while Dunn is finally swinging a decently hot bat.
1. Tony Plush, 8 2. Ian "We Need to Get This Guy a Nickname" Desmond, 6 3. Guzzie, 4 4. Big Donkey, 3 5. Hammer, 7 6. Pudge, 2 7. J. Max, 9 8. The Attorney General, 5 9. Livo "I Swear I'm 35" Hernandez, 1