Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals
The Chicago Cubs and the Washington Nationals meet for game two of their opening weekend series at Wrigley Field on Saturday. The Cubs are -115 favorites over the Nationals with an over/under run total set at 8.
The Chicago Cubs looked to be on their way to their first win of the season in their opener on Thursday until late in the game when the same Cubs magic let the game get away from them in the final two innings. Ryan Dempster pitched a gem allowing just a hit to the leadoff batter before surrendering a hit in the eighth inning but Kerry Wood blew the save and allowed Washingto to get even until Carlos Marmol allowed two hits and a run to lose it in the ninth inning. Marlon Byrd had a hit and drove in the only Chicago run, Ian Stewart had a hit and scored in his Cubs’ debut, and Starlin Castro had a hit as the Cubbies mustered six hits and a run in all. Chicago tries to shake off the disappointment on Saturday as they send Matt Garza to the mound for his first start of the year. Garza was .500 with a 3.32 ERA last year, his first year with the Cubs, while striking allowing 186 hits and striking out 197 over 198 innings. Garza held his own for the most part last year and allowed just 14 home runs but it is apparent the Chicago starting pitching isn’t going to get much help from the middle relievers.
The Washington Nationals showed in their first game of the year on Thursday a lot of the reasons why most are expecting more from them this season as they showed the toughness to not give up and the tools to get it done on the road. Anytime Stephen Strasburg takes the mound the expectations are going to be high so his five hits and one run allowed and five strikeouts over seven innings looked almost ordinary while getting a no decision while Tyler Clippard looked in his All Star from getting the win and Brad Lidge looked to have a lot of his good stuff striking out two and picking up his first save of the year. Ian Desmond’s three hits may not have been hit on a rope but they all fell in and he drove in a run and scored one, Chad Tracy had a double that pinch runner Brett Carroll eventually scored on, and Jayson Werth drove in a run without getting a hit as Washington turned four hits and six walks into two runs and a win. For Saturday’s game the Nationals look to make it back to back wins as they send Gio Gonzalez to the mound. Gonzalez was an All Star last season with Oakland finishing at 16-12 but winning in seven of his last eight starts. For the year Gonzalez had a 3.12 ERA over 202 innings allowing 175 hits and 70 runs while striking out 197. Gonzalez could be a difference maker in the rotation for Washington.
Chicago is 4-0 at home in their last four games against a left handed starter, 2-7 after allowing two or less runs their previous game, and 6-0 in Garza’s last six starts. Washington is 11-1 in their last 12 road games, 4-1 in their last five games against a right handed starter, and 10-3 in their last 13 games following a win.
This should be another low scoring game and the play is on the under.