The Chicago Cubs came up short on Wednesday with a 5-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. With the win, the Brewers are keeping it interesting in the National League Central. They are just a game behind the Cubs now, as they continue to chip away at their lead. The Brewers have gone 8-2 in their last ten games, while the Cubs have won just one game in their last five.
They are leaving a window open for the Brewers, and with two weeks left, there is still time to crawl through it and steal the division from the Cubs. The Brewers have the day off on Thursday, while the Cubs are in action. So, this makes for an opportunity for the Cubs to get their two-game lead back.
The Cubs travel to Washington for a weekend series against the hot Nationals. It means nothing to the Nationals, but they have been playing some good baseball lately. I don’t know if it makes National fans feel good or bad, because it’s all kind of irrelevant at this stage in the game. They should have considered getting hot over a month ago if they wanted to go to the postseason.
As it is, they’re 8 games behind the Braves in the NL East and 7 out of a wildcard. And that’s with the Nationals on a five-game winning streak. Nobody to blame but themselves, as the team was stuck in quicksand in the first-half. Bryce Harper wasn’t seeing the ball well at all and it ultimately helped lead them to a tough year. The injury to Stephen Strasburg certainly didn’t help, either. The Nats won’t be seeing the Cubs in the postseason, that much is for certain, but they can help play the spoiler role this weekend. Get our free Cubs vs. Nationals pick below.
Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals Pick
Mike Montgomery (4-5, 3.85 ERA) vs. Joe Ross (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Joe Ross made his first start since getting Tommy John surgery in July of last season, or so he thought. He pitched against the Cubs last Friday, but he couldn’t get through 2 innings before the game was postponed. Ross didn’t allow a run, but all of those statistics are wiped clean due to the weather. He’s coming off 14 months of rehab to get back on the bump. Ross exited the 2017 season following an ERA of 5.01 in 13 starts.
It was a dip for him after posting an ERA of 3.43 in his sophomore season the year before. The Nationals are hoping that they can get a healthy Ross for next season, with this season pretty much done. Whether Harper will be there is a mystery. In any event, don’t expect to see the Nationals push Ross in this start. Even if he’s pitching well, they will likely turn to the bullpen earlier than usual. The Nats’ bullpen owns an ERA of 3.92 to put them in the middle of the pack in 2018. The Cubs are in 4th with an ERA of 3.35.
Mike Montgomery hopes to spoil his do-over outing in this one. Montgomery enters with an ERA of 3.77 in his previous three starts. He’s coming off an ugly loss to the Brewers, a 11-1 beatdown last week. Montgomery has typically been good on the road, though, with an ERA of 3.43 and 1.21 WHIP. After sweeping the Phillies in Philadelphia, the Nationals are likely going to come home with a little bit of a hangover. Joe Ross is a wildcard here, but the Cubs are probably going to be able to get to the bullpen early. Conversely, the Cubs are looking to erase a losing series they just had in Milwaukee. With the Brewers having a day off, the Cubs take advantage of it to inch ahead in the NL Central.