There was no rest for the Washington Nationals at Wrigley on Saturday. The sizzling hot Nationals did it again, with another impressive performance to down the Cubs for a second consecutive game. Washington advanced to 4-0 in their previous four games after a successful series against the Pirates. On their four-game winning streak, the Nationals have scored 34 runs.
The offense has been able to open things up, as the heavy bats are having a good time recently. They can’t let up now. Washington still have a lot of catching up to do on the Braves if they want the NL East. The Braves have kept winning lately as well, so the Nats have been getting nowhere. They continue to be stuck at six games back of the leader out east in the National League.
When it comes to the division, the Braves are going to be a tough cookie to crack in September. A wildcard berth and appearance in the play-in game is in their control, though. They control their own destiny as they look to add more wins to their streak. Washington go into Sunday three games up on the Cubs for homefield advantage in the Wild Card Game. We may be doing this all over again in Washington on a grander stage soon.
The Cubs were looking forward to getting back home after a long road trip, but this isn’t what they envisioned after sweeping the Giants. They’re being tested by the Nationals, as they push them to the brink of a sweep. Stephen Strasburg will try to get them there, while Cole Hamels will be looking for the block Sunday. Get our free Nationals vs. Cubs pick below.
Washington Nationals vs. Chicago Cubs Pick:
Betting odds provided by bovada.lv
The Cubs will look to stop the bleeding on Sunday behind Cole Hamels. Between Friday and Saturday, the Cubs have been outscored 16-5 against the Nationals. That is going to have to change Sunday or the Nationals are going to be breaking out the brooms over a team they may very well see in the postseason. If things stay how they are, that’d be in the Wild Card Game in Washington. Stephen Strasburg hopes to lead his team there and much further.
Strasburg has been having a solid 2019 campaign, with a 3.65 ERA and record of 15-5. He is coming off a stellar performance against the Pirates, having allowed no runs across 7 innings of play. He’s been adequate against the Cubs, but there are some hitters he must be aware of in this game.
Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward, and Nick Castellanos have all done damage against him with averages above .300. Other than that, he’s been serviceable against the Cubs, as they’re hitting .250 with 20 runs scored in 152 at-bats as a team.
Cole Hamels has been more effective against the Nats in his carer, though. He’s faced the Nationals in 213 at-bats, yet he’s allowed the same amount of runs as Strasburg. The Nationals are also hitting .239 against Hamels. Things haven’t gone well for Hamels recently.
He’s struggled with a 12.27 ERA in his most recent three outings. However, two of those were on the road, and in the one home game, he allowed 3 runs in 6 innings against the Giants in a win. Wrigley has been friendly to Hamels, having now surrendered more than 3 runs in a home start this season.
In 58 innings at home, Hamels has posted an ERA of 2.56 and 1.09 WHIP without a loss. It’s hard to ignore that as a home underdog. With their backs against the wall after a disastrous couple of days in Chicago, look for the Cubs to get back on track Sunday.