Published January 13, 2015
Florida-born lefty Gio Gonzalez goes for a second win in three decisions against the Chicago Cubs when the Washington Nationals host them to wrap up a three-game weekend series on Sunday at Nationals Park.
Gonzalez, a 26-year-old who was third in National League Cy Young Award voting last season, began 2013 with two no-decisions and a loss in his initial four starts, but has since won two of three outings.
He topped Pittsburgh, 6-2, with six innings of five-hit ball on May 5 in his most recent start.
He's 1-1 in three career starts against the Cubs with a 5.74 earned run average across 15 2/3 innings.
Gonzalez is 11-5 in 18 career starts at Nationals Park.
The Cubs go with 6-foot-7 righty Scott Feldman, who's won three straight starts since losing his initial three outings of the season.
The 30-year-old Hawaiian was 6-11 in 29 appearances with the Texas Rangers last season, then became a Cub after signing a one-year deal worth $6 million on Nov. 27.
He dropped consecutive outings to Atlanta, San Francisco and Milwaukee in his first three starts while compiling a 4.50 earned run average, but has since dropped the ERA to 2.70 with defeats of Miami, San Diego and Texas.
Against the Rangers on May 6, he tossed seven innings of scoreless two-hit ball in a 9-2 Chicago win.
Feldman, who's never faced the Nationals, is 1-2 on the road this season and 24-27 for his career.
On Saturday, Anthony Rizzo had three hits and two RBI to help the Cubs take an 8-2 win over the Nationals.
David DeJesus drove in two runs while Welington Castillo scored twice for the Cubs, who had lost six of eight coming into the game.
Edwin Jackson (1-5) benefited from the run support to get his first win of the year, giving up two runs on four hits with a pair of walks and three strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings. He also added a two-run double in the win.
"The difference in the whole ball game was Jackson," said Chicago manager Dale Sveum. "His hit got our scoring started, and he shut them down at the plate today. He had an outstanding game."
Ian Desmond went 3-for-4 with a solo home run and two RBI for the Nationals, who had a five-game winning streak stopped. Stephen Strasburg (1-5) dropped his fifth straight decision as he gave up four unearned runs on five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in just five innings.
"It's all going to change and it's still early enough in the season for things to turn around," said Strasburg. "All I can do is my best and try to have as strong of control as I'm capable of out there."
The Nationals won six of seven games with the Cubs in 2012 and four of seven in 2011. Chicago last won the series, 4-2, in 2010.