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Nationals' lineup for the series opener with the Cubs: Dusty Baker hopes Nats finish strong

The Nationals are 5-1 on the current ten-game road trip with four games against the Cubs left to play in Chicago's Wrigley Field. Washington skipper Dusty Baker hopes his team finishes strong against the NL Central-leading Cubs.

Photo © and courtesy the @Nationals on the Twitter.
Photo © and courtesy the @Nationals on the Twitter.

With wins in five of the first six games on the Washington Nationals' ten-game, three-city road trip, the Nats set themselves up nicely for their four-game set with the Chicago Cubs.

In taking two of three from the Kansas City Royals with yesterday's win, the Nationals pounded the defending World Series champions, connecting for 16 hits and 13 runs in what ended up a 13-2 victory.

Dusty Baker talked after the big win about the offensive output in the series finale in Kauffman Stadium.

"We've had some ups and downs, but we've had the one constant, pitching and defense," Baker said.

"I've always said that this team is going to hit, and especially when the weather gets hot, that's hitters' time, you know, and generally speaking the pitchers flourish more when it's cold than when it's hot, but we had some guys swing the bat good."

After taking three straight in St. Louis and two of three in Kansas City, however, the biggest challenge of the trip is likely still the final four games in Chicago.

"It's going to be a heck of a series, and I'm just glad we got out of here with the win today," Baker said.

He was asked if he thought the 5-1 start to the road trip made a statement about what kind of team the Nationals are this season?

"No, I don't believe in that," he said. "People know we've got a good team. You've got to go out there and do it, No. 1.

"The next four days of the road trip are the toughest, because you know we haven't been on a ten-day road trip this year. The next four you can't start thinking about home.

"You've got play all the way through the end of the road trip and as life is, you've got to finish strong."

Here's the lineup the Nationals are sending out for the series opener with the Cubs: