We are now a perfect 6-0 ATS in the postseason, but don’t think for a second I am overlooking the historical unlikelihood of Game Four’s dramatic ending and getting smug about the victory. 5-2, heading in to the top of the ninth, I was willing to concede defeat. Fortunately for us, the Cubs were willing to make no such concessions. A few bleeders through the middle and a dominating bullpen effort from Chapman later, the Cubs are on to their second straight NLCS.
The question now is who will be joining them in Wrigley Field Saturday night.
The Dodgers and Nats have traded a pair of games each in the other’s ballpark and now head back to Washington for a winner-take-all, pressure-packed Game Five. Rich Hill gets the ball for the Dodgers while the Nats turn to ace Max Scherzer on full rest. So who will prevail in tonight’s game?
Let’s see if we can run the record to an unblemished post-season 7-0 ATS tonight.
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TODAY’S FREE PICK: NLDS GAME FIVE
Los Angeles Dodgers +145 at Washington Nationals -152 (Total: 7)
Rich Hill vs. Max Scherzer
On paper, this has the makings of a fine pitcher’s duel, but there are some numbers that might be a little bit surprising to the casual fan about each of the seemingly-dominant starting pitcher.
Yes, Max Scherzer led the league in strikeouts and a surprisingly (to me, anyway) high number of outlets have him listed as their Cy Young winner. Yet in his last four starts he has allowed several runs in every one of them, including five in his only appearance in this series. That isn’t saying that he has been BAD; he hasn’t. It is simply to say, despite the dominance of strikeouts, he hasn’t been dominating on the scoreboard. His ERA was right at three for the season (2.96) and he has been vulnerable to the longball, surrendering 31 this regular season, not including the two from Game One. I think he will pitch well, but I do not expect a Bumgarner-like nine innings of dominance.
Likewise for Rich Hill. I faded him in Game Two citing his tailing performance the last three starts of the season. His Game Two start was even worse. I see why the Nats are commanding favorites, and have no problem if that’s where you want to stake your wager tonight. It feels like a winning play to me. But for a little more value, I want to go counter-intuitive and fade both pitchers combined. The seven run total is a little slim given Scherzer’s long ball issues and Hill’s issues overall. Hill has allowed eleven earned runs in his last 19 innings pitched. I expect the Nats to score at least a few runs before running Hill to the showers by the sixth inning.
I’ll bet on both team’s bats and fade both team’s stat-rich starters.