Washington Nationals vs. Chicago Cubs
The Washington Nationals and the Chicago Cubs kick off Fourth of July baseball with an early game in Washington, D.C. The Nationals are -150 favorites over the Cubs with an over/under run total set at 7.5.
The Washington Nationals are definitely a work in progress and while word on the street is Stephen Strasburg is recovering nicely, it’s clear this is a team is going to compete next season and beyond. The Nationals are 4-6 in their last 10 games, 24-15 at home this season, a game under .500, and tied for third place 11 games back in the National League East. As a team Washington is hitting a 29th ranked .232 led by Michael Morse at .299, Layne Nix at .277, and Danny Espinosa at just .243. The Nats get it done with pitching as they have a team ERA of 3.48 with the starters at 3.57 and the bullpen at 3.29. For game one against the Cubbies Washington starts Jordan Zimmerman who hasn’t gotten a lot of run support, which gives him one of the top ERA’s in the Majors and at the same time a losing record. For the season Zimmerman has allowed 90 hits and 30 earned runs while striking out 71 over 102.2 innings of work.
The Chicago Cubs won on Sunday to avoid being swept at home by their crosstown rivals, the White Sox, but there hasn’t been much to cheer about on the Chicago’s North Side this season. The Cubs are 4-6 in their last 10 games, 15-24 on the road this season, and 10 and half games back and in fifth place in the National League Central. As a team Chicago is hitting .262 led by Starlin Castro at .312, Darwin Barney at .297, Aramis Ramirez at .293, and Kosuke Fukudome at .278. As a team the Cubs’ pitching staff has a team ERA of 4.61 with the starters at 5.23 and the bullpen at 3.56. For game one at Washington Chicago gives the ball to Ryan Dempster who has three no decisions and a loss in his last four starts. For the season Dempster has allowed 113 hits and 59 earned runs while striking out 98 over 106.1 innings of work.
Washington is 5-1 in their last six games against the NL Central, 15-7 in their last 22 games overall, and 7-3 in their last 10 games against a team with a losing record. Chicago is 6-2 in their last eight game one of a series, 1-4 in their last five road games, and 8-2 in Dempster’s last 10 starts. Chicago is 11-4 in the last 15 meetings of these two.
I don’t expect the Cubs to rise to the occasion here and they are probably in for what they have been suffering on the road all season with and that’s just a world of hurt being put on them. I’m taking the Nationals minus the 150.
Washington Nationals -150 Chicago Cubs