The Washington Times - August 8, 2011, 04:23PM

CHICAGO — Twenty-three years ago today, the first ever night game was played at Wrigley Field. Tonight, the Nationals have the honor of commemorating that anniversary with the Cubs in the first of three night games — and Chien-Ming Wang’s third start.

This will be an interesting start for Wang, particularly the first inning. In his first two starts, Wang has faced 14 batters in the first inning. He’s given up seven hits, walked two and allowed six runs. Opponents are hitting .636 off him in the first inning. After that, he settles down and improves, at least until he tires. 


He did, however, improve from the first start to the second — at least in the estimation of Nationals manager Davey Johnson and pitching coach Steve McCatty — and continued improvement for him will be key to the Nationals keeping him in their rotation.

On another note, this is a lot of the Nationals’ first times to Wrigley Field (as well as my first trip here) and several Nationals were out early this afternoon working on the field and exploring. Ross Detwiler, Ryan Mattheus and Collin Balester even traversed the center field bleacher seats and took in the view for a short while.

As for the lineup behind Wang, it’s pretty standard, the only slight difference being Jonny Gomes getting a third straight start in left field despite the Nationals facing right-hander Matt Garza. With Laynce Nix under the weather over the weekend and Johnson wanting to get Gomes into a rhythm, he said he would be playing Gomes for a few days in a row regardless of matchup. Gomes hit a two-run homer off a right-hander on Sunday.

Here are the full lineups:


Rick Ankiel CF
Danny Espinosa 2B
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Michael Morse 1B
Jayson Werth RF
Jonny Gomes LF
Ian Desmond SS
Wilson Ramos C
Chien-Ming Wang P 


Starlin Castro SS
Darwin Barney 2B
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Carlos Pena 1B
Marlon Byrd CF
Alfonso Soriano LF
Tyler Colvin RF
Geovany Soto C
Matt Garza P