The Washington Nationals were in a fine form of three straight wins before the Atlanta Braves beat them twice in a row, but the Nationals managed to respond with a win in the closing game of the series; however, the fell short in the opener with the Cubs. This could be a pivotal stretch in the history of Nationals franchise. The team is in danger of missing the postseason and could lose superstar slugger Bryce Harper, who has morphed into the face of the franchise since he debuted as a 19-year-old rookie. The Nationals come into the weekend 5.5-games back of the Milwaukee Brewers for the final Wild Card spot in the National League. Harper’s impending free agency made the trade deadline a complete frenzy, but the Nationals opted not to deal him and remain confident about their chances of retaining Harper, despite the fact that he could command a record-breaking contract after posting an underwhelming 2018 season. The Cubs remain among the top suitors for Harper, who is batting just .236 with 28 home runs in 114 games this year.
- Cubs are 1-4 in their last 5 games vs. a starter with a WHIP less than 1.15.
- Nationals are 8-2 in Scherzer’s last 10 starts vs. National League Central.
- Nationals are 10-3 in Scherzer’s last 13 starts with 4 days of rest.
In the battle of stud starters, Max Scherzer clearly outpitches Cole Hamels in Sunday prime-time action. My simulations project the Nats winning on the road a whopping 64 percent, scoring plenty while stingy Scherzer keeps the Cubs’ bats in check.
Prediction: WASHINGTON -141