Washington Nationals (1-1; 1-1 O/U) vs. Chicago Cubs (1-1; 1-1 O/U)
NLDS Game Three: Monday, October 9, 2017 at 4:00pm EST
Line: Washington -125/Chicago +115
The Chicago Cubs will host the Washington Nationals in game three of the NLDS Monday afternoon from the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. The Nationals will give the starting nod to 33-year old right-hander Max Scherzer, and the Cubs will counter with 28-year old left-hander Jose Quintana. The series is currently tied 1-1.
Scherzer Ready to Go After Minor Injury
Max Scherzer will get the call for the first time of this series in game three after dealing with a bit of an issue with his hamstring. Scherzer had another dazzling season, recording a stifling 2.51 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP to go with a 16-6 record in 200.2 innings pitched. Scherzer faced the Cubs in late June and limited them to one run in six innings in a 6-1 Nationals victory, and possesses a 3-1 record with a 2.92 ERA in six career starts against Chicago. Kris Bryant is 1 for 10 against Scherzer, while Javier Baez is 1 for 5, and Anthony Rizzo is 3 for 10 with one RBI. He is no stranger to playoff baseball, making 15 appearances and 12 starts, and features a 3.74 ERA and a 2-2 record in 74.2 Postseason innings.
After a silent game one, the heart of the Nationals order came through in their 6-3 comeback win in game two. The Nationals #2 to #5 hitters combined to go 5 for 15 with 6 RBI’s in game two. Ryan Zimmerman dealt the big blow, belting a three-run home run to break a 3-3 tie late in the game. The 33-year old first baseman now features a sizzling .340 average with three homers and nine RBI’s in 16 career games.
The Nationals scored an average of 5.06 runs per game this season, ranking them fifth the Majors, and hit .266 as a team. The Washington pitching was outstanding, sporting a 3.88 team ERA, good for sixth in the Major Leagues.
Quintana Makes First Career Start against Nationals
Jose Quintana will make his first career Postseason appearance and also face the Nationals for the first time of his career in game three. Quintana didn’t dominate this season but he was still solid, posting a 4.15 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP accompanied with an 11-11 record in 188.2 innings logged. He went 7-3 with a 3.74 ERA in 14 starts with the Cubs after coming over in a trade with the White Sox. He did manage to go 5-0 in eight starts at Wrigley Field this season, but posted a weak 4.76 ERA. Quintana finished his season strong, registering a 2.51 ERA in September.
Anthony Rizzo has been the Cubs best hitter in this series, collecting three hits with one homer and four RBI’s through two games. The 28-year old first baseman is now hitting .257 with six home runs and 16 RBI’s in 28 playoff games. Watch for Ben Zobrist in this one as he has been able to have success against Max Scherzer, crushing three home runs with six RBI’s in 25 career at bats.
The Cubs scored an average of 5.07 runs per game this season, good for fourth in the Major Leagues, and posted a .255 team batting average. The Chicago pitching was stellar, sporting a 3.95 team ERA, placing them seventh in the Majors.
The Washington Nationals are:
- 5-1 in Scherzer’s last 6 starts against a team with a winning record.
- 7-0 in their last 7 Monday games.
- 4-1 in their last 5 road games against a left-handed starter.
- 5-1 in their last 6 games against a starter with a WHIP of less than 1.15
The Chicago Cubs are:
- No Key Trends
I am taking the Nationals in this contest as this pitching matchup definitely favors Washington. Scherzer limited the Cubs to one run in six innings in the lone meeting this season and owns a solid 2.92 ERA in six career starts against them. In addition, Scherzer is a proven playoff performer, carrying a solid 3.74 ERA in 74.2 career innings, so I am very confident backing him. Furthermore, the Nationals hit a solid .275 against left-handers in the regular season, and Quintana posted a poor 4.76 ERA at Wrigley Field this season, so I expect the Nationals bats to push across enough runs to get the win.
Pick: Washington Nationals -125
Scherzer dominated on the road this season, and Quintana pitched well down the final stretch of the season. Scherzer features a 10-2 record with a sparkling 1.82 ERA in 16 road starts this season, and the under is 23-8-4 in their last 35 road games. Quintana did post a solid 2.51 ERA in his final five starts of the season and he should at least contain the Nationals lineup, plus the under is 4-1 in the Cubs last five playoff home games . I think the Nationals bats will do just enough to squeak one out in a low scoring battle.