The Cubs are just a win away from making their return to the NLCS for the 3rd straight year as they aim to close out their NLDS encounter against the Nationals in game 4. Chicago scored just enough runs to take the last game from Washington, with Ben Zobrist and pinch runner Leonys Martín each reaching home plate in the final 2 innings that were played, eking out a 2-1 victory. Can the visitors extend the series to a winner-take-all game 5 that will be played in their home stadium?
Tanner Roark will be the starter on the mound the Nationals. He went 13-11 in 32 games, 30 of which are starts, during the regular season, hauling a 4.67 ERA and 1.34 WHIP, as well as 166 SO in 181.1 IP. Roark went 7-5 with a 3.90 ERA and .223/.292/.397 in .688 OPS in 14 games and 13 starts during the 2nd half of the season, an improvement to his 5.27 ERA and .278 BA allowed in the earlier half. His last stint before this pending start was a 1-inning relief effort against the Pittsburgh Pirates on October 1. He got to face the Cubs during that period, claiming a 4-2 win on August 4 after working 6 1/3 innings and allowing 5 hits, 2 runs, and 3 walks, along with 4 SO. The 31-year old pitcher from Wilmington, Illinois is 4-2 in 7 career games (6 starts) with a 4.06 ERA and 1.30 WHIP against CHC, allowing a line of .277/.316/.426 for a .742 OPS. He has played in 3 games in 2 separate division series in this career, taking the loss in an 18-inning marathon against the San Francisco Giants on game 2 of the 2014 NLDS. Roark had his 1st postseason start last year against the Los Angeles Dodgers, pitching 4 1/3 frames for 7 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks, and a K.
Jake Arrieta is expected to get the nod for the Cubs despite having a right hamstring injury. He is 14-10 in 30 starts this year, compiling a 3.53 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, as well as an 8.7 SO9 after fanning 163 batters in 168.1 IP. Arietta claims a dubious distinction of leading the NL with 14 wild pitches, 4th most in the entire MLB, this season. The former Cy Young awardee and 1-time All-Star has gone 1-2 in 9 career starts opposite the Nats, having a 5.48 ERA and 1.67 WHIP, as well as allowing a .333 BA, .500 OBP, .333 slugging percentage, and .833 OPS. In his lone faceoff against Washington in 2017, he took a defeat after surrendering 6 hits, 6 runs (5 earned), and 6 walks in 4 IP. He has logged 7 playoffs games, 2 of which were in last year’s World Series that turned out to be wins. On game 6, he threw 102 pitches in 5.2 innings, coming through with 9 strikeouts. Prior to the injury that he sustained on September 4, Arrieta went on a 2-month stretch where he was 7-2 with a 1.79 ERA.
The contest at Wrigley Field is set to begin at 4:08 PM EST and can be watched on TBS.
Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs
Moneyline: Washington Nationals +138, Chicago Cubs -148
Total: Over 7.5 (-115), Under 7.5 (-105)
The Nationals find themselves with their backs against the wall as they let Chicago take a 2-1 series lead. To segue a bit, the franchise granted the Atlanta Braves permission to speak to assistant GM Doug Harris and special assistant Dan Jennings about Atlanta’s general manager vacancy. Going back to playoff discussion, the likes of Anthony Rendon (.364 BA, 1 RBI vs Arrieta), Daniel Murphy (.294 BA vs Arrieta), and Bryce Harper (.286 BA, 1 RBI vs Arrieta) should bring their A-game on the plate.
Although Kris Bryant has a .455 BA, including an HR, against Roark, Jason Heyward and Anthony Rizzo have been subpar against Washington’s vet hurler. Still, the latter 2 combine for 2 HR and 5 RBI on him.
The best time to end this series is right now, as game 5 would be played at Nationals Park where the Nationals are 48-35 this season including the playoffs. Javier Báez has a HR and 2 RBI, while Martin has a homer as well, against Roark.
Arrieta is winning his personal duels against Adam Lind (.056 BA), Ryan Zimmerman (.222 BA, 2 RBI), and Jayson Werth (.143 BA, 1 HR, 4 RBI). Nevertheless, Brian Goodwin and Howie Kendrick have registered an RBI each against Chicago’s starter.
Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs Betting Trends and Prediction
A reliable hand, Arrieta is still a wild card in this match. It does not help him that, historically, he does not fare well against Washington. Roark has his lapses as well, but he has compensated for it, especially after the All-Star break. With this, there is a possibility that more than enough runs can be scored to for this game to finish over. As has been the trend, a high-scoring affair works in the favor of the Nats.
My Pick: Over 7.5 (-115)
Bonus Pick: Washington Nationals +138
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