A huge contest in the National League this afternoon and we will see the Washington Nationals grapple with the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois in game one of a three-game series. The Nats won four of the seven games between these teams last year. Pitching Probables: Jeremy Hellickson (5-2, 3.56 ERA) will get the nod for the Nats and he will be opposed by Kyle Hendricks (8-9, 4.07 ERA).
Nationals May Be Fading
The Washington Nationals were picked by many to represent the National League in the World Series this year, but heading into Thursday’s game against the Braves, they are just two games over .500 for the year and six games out of first in their division. They beat the Braves in game one of their doubleheader on Tuesday, but they lost game two and then followed that up with an 8-3 loss on Wednesday. If the Nats hope to stay in the race, then they must take care of business in the division. This is a big game for them as they have a three-game set in Chicago on deck, followed by a four-game series in St Louis. Tommy Milone came over from the Mets in the offseason and was recently called up from Syracuse. He is now 1-1 with a 5.50 ERA in his three starts for the Nats after getting pounded by the Braves on Wednesday. Milone allowed seven ERs on 10 hits and no walks while striking out four in 6.0 innings of work. Bryce Harper went deep for the Nationals and it was his 28th of the year. Washington has averaged 4.28 rpg and has allowed 3.75 rpg on the road.
Taking the hill for the Nationals will be Jeremy Hellickson and he has gone 5-2 with a 3.56 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP in 16 starts on the year, including 4-2 with a 3.10 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 11 starts on the road. In his career, he has gone 37-39 with a 4.27 ERA in 112 games (108 starts) on the road and 14-19 with a 4.40 ERA in 41 starts during the month of August, plus 28-17 with a 3.32 ERA in 68 games (67 starts) in the daytime, while against the Cubs he has gone 1-1 with a 7.59 ERA in two starts, including 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA in one start here at Wrigley.
Washington has been decent on offense so far this year as they come in ranked 13th in the league in scoring, putting up 4.57 rpg, while also ranking 13th in hitting at .250 and 14th in homers with 137. On the mound, they have been very good as they come in ranked 11th in the league in ERA at 3.83, while also ranking 6th in WHIP at 1.22 and 9th in K’s with 1018. The pen for Washington ranks 9th in the league in ERA at 3.64.
Cubs Get Pounded By The Royals
The Kansas City Royals are tied with the Orioles for the worst record in the league and they haven’t pounded many teams this year. Well, they did on Wednesday night as they beat these Cubs by a score of 9-0. The Cubs did take the first two games of the series by a combined 8-1 score but just couldn’t hang in the finale. Despite the loss, the Cubs are still leading the National League Central by 1.5 games over the Brewers. Jose Quintana got lit up by the worst offense in the league as he allowed five ERs on six hits and two walks while striking out four in 6.1 innings of work to fall to 10-8 with a 4.28 ERA on the year. Tyler Chatwood didn’t fare any better as he allowed four ERs on three hits and two walks in just 1.2 innings of work. The offense was a no-show against rookie Heath Fillmyer as they were able to muster just three hits in seven innings against him. Those were the only three hits the Cubs had in the game. The Cubs have averaged 5.05 rpg and have allowed 4.59 rpg here at Wrigley Field for the year.
The Cubs will trot out Kyle Hendricks in this one and he has gone 8-9 with a 4.07 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP in 23 starts on the year, including 4-6 with a 3.75 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP in 12 starts here at home. In his career, he has gone 23-15 with a 2.73 ERA in 62 games (61 starts) here at Wrigley Field and 13-2 with a 2,68 ERA in 25 starts during the month of August, plus 17-13 with a 3.42 ERA in 53 day starts, while against the Nationals he has gone 2-2 with a 2.67 ERA in five starts.
The Cubs have been a very good offensive team so far as they come in ranked 4th in the league in scoring, putting up 4.96 rpg, while also ranking 2nd in hitting at .266 and 20th in homers with 121. On the mound, they have been very solid as they come in ranked 8th in the league in ERA at 3.81, while also ranking 19th in WHIP at 1.35 and 21st in K’s with 925. The pen for the Cubs ranks 6th in the league with a 3.38 ERA.
- 6-1 in their last seven vs. the National League East
- 8-3 in Hendricks’ last 11 starts during game one of a series
- 6-15 in their last 21 road games vs. a right-handed starter
- 3-10 in their last 13 vs. a team with a winning record
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Washington Nationals really need to get their act together or they will continue to fade. They have some tough games coming and this is one of them. The Cubs lead the National League Central and have been a solid home team this year. They also have to be embarrassed after a 9-0 loss to the Royals. They have had a day to stew over that game, while the Nats were finishing up a four-game set against the Braves. Jeremy Hellickson has pitched well for the Nats, by Kyle Hendricks always pitches well at home and he does have a 2.67 ERA in five career starts against the Nats. The Cubs are 5-2 in his starts against the Nats, while Washington is just 7-16 in their last 23 road games and that will cinch up this play for me.
Prediction: Chicago -148
Full-Game Total Pick
This really is an important series for both teams and it should be played in a playoff atmosphere, which could lead to a few low-scoring games. Kyle Hendricks hasn’t pitched great overall this year, but he has a decent 3.75 ERA here at home for the year and a 2.73 ERA in his career at Wrigley, while Hellickson has a 3.10 ERA on the road. The Nats have been good on offense of late, while the Cubs have been a good offensive team at home, but the feeling here is that the pitching will rule the day in this playoff-type game. Let’s put a pin in this play by stating that the Under is 16-4-1 in Washington’s last 21 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600 and 21-4-1 in Hendricks’ last 26 home starts vs. a team with a winning record.
Full-Game Prop Bet
Going to go with the Cubs to win this series. They have been a solid team at home while the Nats have been very mediocre on the road. Washington just isn’t the team we thought they would be this year, while the Cubs are leading their division and that is where many expected them to be. I feel this will be a damning series for the Nationals.
Prediction: Series- Chicago -140
First Five Innings Side Pick
Both teams need this game, but I feel the Cubs will go after it a bit more. They have been a solid home team a and the Nats have been very average on the road. look for the Cubs to come out and grab an early lead, which they won’t relinquish as the game goes on.
First Five Innings Total Bet
This game will have a playoff atmosphere to it and with it being such a huge game, the hitters may be a bit tight early on. Kyle Hendricks normally pitches well here at home, while Jeremy Hellickson has a 3.10 ERA on the road. Not much scoring early or late in this game.
First Five Innings Prop Prediction
I look for a low scoring game overall and that means there is guaranteed to be scoring in the first. LOL. Hellickson does have a 1.74 ERA in the first inning this year, but Hendricks has an 8.22 ERA in the first. Someone will score a run in the first.
Prediction: Score In The First- Yes -110