Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals, 5/17/19 7:05 PM ET Nationals Park, Washington, DC, TV: Washington (ESPN), Chicago (FOX) ñ Radio: Washington (106.7 The Fan), Chicago (670 The Score)
Following last night’s Nationals’ 5-2 win, the series finale takes place tonight at 7:05 PM ET. The Cubs and Nationals have each taken one game, so tonight decides the series.
Kyle “The Professor” Hendricks takes the mound for the Cubs, allowing just a 1.95 ERA with 31 strikeouts in his last five starts. It’ll be a struggling Jeremy Hellickson for the Nats, who is 2-2 on the season with a 6.00 ERA.
Hitting was a struggle for the Cubs last night, as they put up only four hits as a team following their 18 hit spectacle in the first game of the series. The Nationals got the best of Jon Lester yesterday, and put up 11 hits and five runs on the game.
Cubs Starting Lineup
1. K. Schwarber , LF
2. K. Bryant , 3B
3. A. Rizzo , 1B
4. J. Baez , SS
5. W. Contreras , C
6. D. Descalso , 2B
7. J. Heyward , RF
8. A. Almora Jr. , CF
9. K. Hendricks , SP
The Cubs have lost three of their last four as they look to turn things around in tonight’s game. Baez and Bryant, two of the Cubs best hitters, are both hitting above .300 against Hellickson in their careers. While the bats didn’t look good in last night’s game for the Cubbies, a quick look at the box score from Friday’s game will leave any fan hopeful for today.
With Lester struggling in last night’s start, it never felt like the Cubs were in the game. As starting pitching has been something they’ve relied on all year, it’s no mystery that the game ended in a L. If Hendricks can put together a start similar to any of his last five, the Cubs will be in good shape to take tonight’s game.
It’s worth noting, though, that Hendricks hasn’t had the best of luck historically pitching to this Nationals lineup. Eaton, Soto, Kendrick, and Turner are all hitting above .300 off the precision pitching right-hander. Hendricks has a 5.91 ERA on the road this year compared to a 0.62 ERA at home, which could play a role in tonight’s game in Washington.
Nationals Starting Lineup
1. T. Turner , SS
2. V. Robles , CF
3. J. Soto , LF
4. A. Rendon , 3B
5. A. Eaton , RF
6. G. Parra , 1B
7. B. Dozier , 2B
8. Y. Gomes , C
9. J. Hellickson , SP
The Nationals, who currently sit 7 games back in the East, have hit the ball well in the first two games of this series with double digit hits each game. Soto, Dozier, Eaton, and Rendon all had two hits in last night’s victory.
The only thing that could stop them from winning tonight’s game would be pitching. Hellickson isn’t a starter the team is confident in, as he’s given up an 8.06 ERA with an OBP of .976 in his last five starts. Not only that, but the Nationals bullpen is the worst in the MLB, surrendering an ERA of 6.77 on the year.
The Nationals will be able to steal a few games from good teams when they have Strasburg go 8 innings like he did last night, but until they get their bullpen figured out, they won’t put up a winning record. Expect to see them continue to hit the ball well tonight, but give up 10+ hits to the dangerous Chicago lineup.
Cubs vs Nationals Betting Odds
The line is currently set at Cubs -127 Nationals +127. I have to agree with Vegas on this one, as Hellickson and the Nats’ bullpen have struggled so consistently this year. I expect to see Hendricks give up a few runs, but the Cubs bats will come alive and they’ll take this series finale.
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