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The Chicago Cubs travel to the nation’s capital to face the Washington Nationals Friday in the first game of a three-game set. The Cubs are rolling along at 25-15 and in first place in the NL Central, while the Nationals are struggling 17-25. The Cubs will start left-hander Cole Hamels (3-0) while the Nationals go with right-hander Max Scherzer (2-4). Game time is 7:05 p.m. ET at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.
(Was Written Prior To Last Night’s Games)
Cubs lose to Reds in 10 innings
The Chicago Cubs have had a pretty good month of May. They have only lost three games so far this month and they are 13-3 in their last 16 games. They took over first place in the division during that run and hold a 1.5 game lead over the Brewers. They are, however, coming off a rare loss, where they fell to Cincinnati on Wednesday 6-5 in 10 innings. The Reds got a walk-off RBI single from Yasiel Puig off Cubs reliever Brad Brach (3-1) in the 10th inning. The Cubs went up 5-3 on a 2-run homer in the 8th by Kyle Schwarber, but they couldn’t hold on to the lead. Also, Addison Russell and Albert Almora each had 2 hits and a home run. Yu Darvish pitched well in the start, allowing 2 runs in 5 innings.
The Cubs average 5.3 runs per game, which is 3rd in the league. As a team, they are batting .254, which is 7th in the league, and they have a slugging percentage of .450, which is 7th in the MLB. Javy Baez has been the Cubs best hitter this year, batting .322 with 11 home runs and 29 RBIs. Wilson Contreras is batting .304 with 10 HRs and 25 RBIs, while Kris Bryant is hitting .267 with 8 HRs and 26 RBIs. Also, Jason Heyward is hitting .241 with 6 HRs and 18 RBIs.
Robles leads Nationals
The Nationals have been nothing if not consistent, just not in a good way. They have a pattern of winning one game, then losing 2 or 3, winning 1, then losing 2 or 3. That has led to a record of 17-25, which puts them in 4th place in the NL East, 7 games behind the first place Phillies. Their offense has really sputtered and it’s clear that they miss slugger Bryce Harper in the middle of their lineup. Harper, of course, signed with the Phillies in the offseason. The Nationals are coming off a win, They beat the Mets 5-1 on Wednesday behind an excellent performance by starter Patrick Corbin. Corbin (4-1) gave up 1 run on 4 hits in 8 innings with 11 strikeouts. Anthony Rendon went 3 for 4 with an RBI while Howie Kendrick went 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs and Victor Robles had 2 hits.
📂 Major League Baseball
└📂 Washington Nationals
└📂 Times New Robles
Victor Robles takes Wilmer Font deep! pic.twitter.com/xSaztVEOV5
— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) May 16, 2019
The Nats have a team ERA of 4.72, which is 21st in the league. They have a 1.37 WHIP, which is 21st. Max Scherzer gets the start for the Nationals. The right-hander is 2-4 with an ERA of 3.64. Scherzer has been their ace but he has not pitched like their ace this year. But he looked good in his last outing, giving up just 2 runs in 7 innings against the Dodgers, so maybe he is turning the corner.
- Nationals are 7-2 in Scherzer’s last 9 Friday starts.
- The Cubs are 7-7 on the road when the money line is +125 to -125
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Take the Nationals at home. I like Scherzer here. He hasn’t been his normal dominating self this year but he is coming off a good outing last time out and I think he will build off that. He just hasn’t had a lot of luck but Washington is starting to get healthy and is finally beginning to hit. The Cubs are playing as good as anyone in baseball but I like the Nationals who are finally back home after a long gruelling road trip. Look for them to make a move in the East.
Prediction: Washington -125
Full-Game Total Pick
Take the under. This is a great pitching match up. Hamels and Scherzer have been two of the league’s most dominant pitchers over the past decade and they are still on top of their games. I don’t expect to see many runs plated in this one. The under is 5-1 in Cubs last 6 games vs. a right-handed starter. Also, the under is 4-0-2 in Nationals last 6 overall and 5-2-1 in Scherzers last 8 home starts vs. a team with a winning record.