Two of the three best teams collide in Washington tonight on Monday night on ESPN and those betting baseball have some thinking to do in what is becoming an increasingly rare circumstance.
The Chicago Cubs (43-18) Eastern road trip continues in our nation’s capital and Washington (39-24) will have an extra edge to them beginning tonight. The Nationals have incentive enough just facing the club that is the talk of baseball, but having been swept in a four-game series on the road, feisty Dusty Baker and his club will be after payback.
Your user-friendly capper has nailed 10 straight winners at this location on the diamond and will try and raise season record to 21-10.
Kyle Hendricks (4-5, 2.90 ERA, 0.90 WHIP) might have a losing record on the best team in the majors, but his teammates will stand up and except a large chuck of the blame, as they have only scored eight times in those losses. Hendricks is a big league pitcher not based on tremendous ability, but on pitch placement. His upper 80’s fastball should make him marginal hurler on any staff, but because of big curveball and excellent changeup, he gets hitter’s out and has a 1.50 ERA against Washington is three starts. (All Chicago wins)
Max Scherzer (7-4, 3.57, 1.05) has faced the Cubs four times and each was a Wrigley Field. The right-hander is finally settling into the kind of groove Washington expects, with a 2.58 ERA since being tagged for seven runs (4 homers) in five innings on Chicago’s north side on May 6th. When Scherzer is at his best, the mid-90’s fastball moves late, the sweeping curve has right-handed batters bailing and the slider is on the outside corner at the knees catching the black.
Chicago’s offense has been slowed down of late to 5.5 runs per game and they have actually been passed by St. Louis as the league’s top scoring club. Nonetheless, though the Cubs are only sixth in batting average in the NL, they are first in on-base percentage at .351, thanks to patience at the plate, leading with the most walks in the league. To this point, because of their diversity in players and roster, they have avoided a team slump, which is why they only have one losing streak of three games.