Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals, 5/17/19 7:05 PM ET Nationals Park, Washington, DC, TV: Washington (MASN), Chicago (WGN) – Radio: Washington (106.7 The Fan), Chicago (670 The Score)
In this series opener the Cubs hope to snap their 2 game losing streak against a Nationals team who hopes to keep their 2 game winning streak alive. In 2018, the teams played each other 7 times, the Cubs taking 4 wins, the Nationals 3.
Cole Hamels takes the mound for the Cubs as Max Scherzer suits up for the Nationals. Despite what you may be used to, Hamels is actually having a better year than Scherzer. The Nationals’ right-hander is 2-4 on the season with an ERA of 3.64. Hamels is 3-0 with an ERA of 3.08.
After a loss with a long rain delay in the middle last night, the Cubs look to take the first game of the series to get their footing back. Despite their .419 winning percentage, the Nationals looked good in their 7-6 victory over the Mets last night, so it will by no means be an easy win for the Cubs.
Cubs Starting Lineup
Despite their previous two games amounting in losses, the Cubs have nothing to complain about sitting atop the NL Central after starting the season off 2-7. Hitting in last night’s game was a little concerning with only 4 total hits to show for the team. Baez had two of those hits, continuing his already MVP-caliber season.
The Cubs are no strangers to Scherzer with some of their hitters putting up steadily good numbers against the 2017 Cy Young winner. Heyward, Russell, Rizzo, and Almora are all hitting above .265 career against the right hander. As this hasn’t been a career year for Scherzer so far, there’s no reason the Cubs lineup couldn’t use tonight’s game as a means of improving their numbers against him.
In his career against the Nationals, Hamels is 16-9 with a 2.67 ERA. This has been a great year for the lefty thus far, 2-0 with a 2.33 ERA in his last 6 starts for the Cubs.
Nationals Starting Lineup
Even though the Nationals haven’t had the start they were looking for, they can still turn things around. Losing Harper in the off-season was a blow, certainly, but it doesn’t have to define the team. Kendrick and Rendon carry the offense, both hitting above .300.
The Nationals lineup hasn’t had a ton of success against Hamels in the past, with only Rendon of today’s starters hitting above .250 off the veteran. The Nats have set themselves up the best they can, though, stacking the lineup with 7 righties.
Last time Scherzer and Hamels matched up, Scherzer won the battle throwing 7 shutout innings, although the Cubs eventually won the game. Scherzer’s history of being an elite pitcher leads me to believe he’s capable of pitching a game like that at any time, despite his slow(er than usual) start to the season.
Cubs vs Nationals Betting Odds
The line is currently set at Cubs +104 Nationals -104. I see the Cubs taking their last two losses and channeling that into a blowout game tonight. Hamels on the mound has been great for the Cubs thus far, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t have another great start tonight.
Odds & Line Movement Links
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