MLB Picks Today: Nationals at Cubs NLDS Game 4
Cubs Seek Third Straight NLCS Appearance
This season hasn't been easy for the Cubs. After a lackluster start to the year, they made the right moves and earned their way to an all but guaranteed postseason. Now that they're here, the NLCS is in their grasp. All that stands in their way is Tanner Roark and the visiting Nationals.
Max Scherzer said he felt comfortable enough to throw 100 pitches before Monday's game, but missed the mark by only two pitches, throwing 98. He played a good game though, striking out seven in 6.1 innings of one hit ball. Jose Quintana was up to the task though, and performed similarly well. The Cubs just managed to break through to the bullpen.
We called this game for the Cubs, and overall went 2-1 for Mondays' games, taking the Yankees as well, but losing with the D-Backs. That brings our postseason record to 9-4, and we hope not to slow down. In this matchup, the Cubs are moderate favorites to win at home, with Jake Arrieta starting at Wrigley Field against Roark, who actually has good numbers in this spot.
Things should have gone differently for the Washington Nationals, but they sit at the cusp of elimination as they visit Chicago. Other than Ryan Zimmerman, their bats aren't there this postseason, and this slump came at the worst time.
Arrieta and the Cubs bullpen should be able to contain them at Wrigley, and stifle their offense. It might not be as pretty as Game 3, and Washington might get some more runs, but it won't be enough in this spot.
Roark hasn't had the same experience as Arrieta on the big stage, and his anxiousness of coming back to Illinois will certainly affect how he plays. Neither pitcher should be spot on here, but the Cubs have an overall better bullpen and offense right now, so they should take this. The Nats are also just 2-6 in their last 8 in Chicago.
Take the Chicago Cubs at -170 at BODOG
Nationals at Cubs NLDS Game 4
Pitching hasn't been bad, but the Washington Nationals are definitely in an offensive slump at the worst time. Apart from one inning in Game 2, the Nats haven't been as consistent as they need to be. These are winnable games for them but they can't seem to get hits in clutch situations. In Game 3, their only run came about because of Chicago errors, and they've only produced seven runs total in the series. Not much worse than the Cubs' eight, but they still trail.
Of those seven runs, Ryan Zimmerman was responsible for hitting in four of them.
Having grown up just outside Chicago, Tanner Roark (13-11, 4.67 ERA) is looking forward to pitching at Wrigley despite feeling anxious. The Illinois native actually has decent numbers against the Cubbies, having gone 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA against them this season, and is 4-2 with a 4.06 ERA against them in seven career games, six of which were starts.
Roark also has some postseason experience. After two relief appearances in the 2014 NLDS, Roark had his first postseason start in the 2016 NLDS against the Dodgers in a no-decision where he allowed two runs and seven hits in 4.1 innings.
The Chicago Cubs' offense hasn't been the best either, but the NL Central champs are winning however they can, and that makes them the more versatile team. Their starting pitchers have been phenomenal, allowing just a single earned run, two total runs, in 18.2 innings.
It's not just their starters either. Closer Wade Davis is now 6 for 6 in postseason save opportunities and has a stunning 0.79 ERA in his 25 playoff games. Jake Arrieta (14-10, 3.53 ERA), who missed most of September because of a hamstring injury, is happy to be back.
His last game was on Sept 26 and has been given more rest to strengthen his leg. The 31-year-old has had postseason experience, on the biggest stage of them all in the World Series. He won both those games. Overall, Arrieta is 4-2 with a 3.64 ERA in seven postseason starts over the last two years.
The Nationals have been a thorn in his side though, and he's only 1-2 with a 5.48 ERA against them in nine appearances. He lost his only meeting with this season. Arrieta makes up for this with his fantastic home record with the Cubs, in which he went 30-14 with a 2.31 ERA in 59 appearances. He'll look to make it 31-14 tonight.
Do you agree with our pick? Or will the Nationals finally find their bats? Let us know what you think in the comment section below, and be sure to share and follow us for more winning picks this MLB postseason!
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