Washington Nationals vs. Chicago Cubs
It’s a new season of hope at Wrigley Field as the Chicago Cubs host the Washington Nationals in their season openers on Thursday. The Nationals are -170 favorites over the Cubs with an over/under run total set at 7.
It’s a new Era on Chicago’s North Side as Theo Epstein takes over as GM of the Chicago Cubs and while many of the fans are looking for him to work miracles like he did in Boston more than likely if those are going to happen it’s going to be later rather than sooner. The Cubs spent the off season like most teams moving the roster around but with a lot of long term and high priced contracts they are somewhat limited over the short term. When it comes to contracts it all begins with Alfonso Soriano who is a defensive liability and offensively when he’s hot he’s hot but when he gets cold it’s tough to see the 25 million dollar a year ball payer anywhere. Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez are gone as is Carlos Pena and in comes David Dejesus, Ian Stewart, Travis Wood, and Chris Volstad, hardly a list that sounds like they will rejuvenate this organization. The Cubs of course have some nice young players in the lineup with Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney, Geovany Soto, and Marlon Byrd which they hope will be a core of a future winner. Ryan Dempster gets the opening day start but even the usually dependable Dempster is coming off of a pretty rough year. Carlos Marmol remains the closer and with him it’s usually a walk or a strikeout but how many save chances will he even get this season as it looks to be a long year ahead for the Cubbies.
The Washington Nationals are still regarded as an expansion team by many but the reality of it is that this is an organization that has built themselves the right way. Washington’s lineup isn’t full of household names but a group of players who are growing together and who seem to know how to get the clutch hits. Ryan Zimmerman is the best of the position players and last season’s big free agent acquisition Jayson Werth was a big disappointment leaving plenty of room to improve this season. Wilson Ramos takes over full time at catcher and he has a world of potential and Michael Morse was Washington’s best hitter last season. For the Nationals Stephen Strasburg gets the opening day start and after being injured two seasons ago he looked just fine when he played at the end of last season and is ready to resume his role as the face of the organization. Drew Storen is a capable closer and Tyler Clippard is an All Star set up man. The Nationals may surprise a lot of people this year but it all begins in this game.
Chicago is 5-2 in their last seven home games, 4-1 in their last five game one of a series, and 2-7 in Dempster’s last nine starts. Washington is10-1 in their last 11 road games, 12-4 in their last 16 against a right handed starter, and 4-0 in Strasburg’s last four road starts.
I like the Nationals in this one due to Strasberg on the mound. Take them minus the 170.
Washington Nationals -170 Chicago Cubs