The Washington Nationals are set to host the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night in the nation’s capital. The Nationals got the best of the Cubbies on Friday night, defeating them by a score of 4-3. Chicago nearly came back from down 4-1 thanks to two runs in the 8th inning, but Kyle Finnegan didn’t allow a single hit or walk in the 9th, and Washington held on.
Luis Garcia and Josh Bell both homered in the Nats win, as Washington improved to 48-55 on the season. Chicago has now lost four games in a row.
The first pitch for tonight’s game between these two clubs is scheduled for 7:05 ET at Nationals Park.
Both Teams Rebuilding
Both the Nationals and Cubs were thinking playoffs coming into the 2021 season, but that is now nothing but a pipedream for both clubs. Neither Washington nor Chicago realistically have any shot at making the postseason, and that has resulted in both teams trading major names this past week.
The Nats sent ace Max Scherzer to the already loaded Dodgers, and Kyle Schwarber was dealt to the Red Sox. The Cubs completely got rid of their old 2016 World Series core, offloading Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Javier Baez. All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel was sent packing as well.
Luckily, Washington still has one of the best young players in baseball in Juan Soto. Soto continues to put up monster numbers in 2021, slashing .301/.425/.509. The same can’t be said for the Cubs, who are now batting Patrick Wisdom’s cleanup. Wisdom is 29 years old, and this is his first season as a mostly everyday player in the MLB. Huge yikes.
Hendricks Is Old Reliable
The one thing Chicago has going for them in this game is having Kyle Hendricks on the mound. The 31-year-old right-hander won’t blow anyone away with his stuff but has a Greg Maddux approach with great pitch selection and location. Hendricks has been a member of the Cubs his entire career and has only finished a season with an ERA+ under 100 once.
Hendricks will allow his fair share of hits and actually leads the league in allowed hits on the season. The California native does reasonably well at getting out of jams, though, and will give Chicago a chance anytime he’s given the ball. The 2016 ERA Leader is 12-4 on the season, tied for the most pitcher wins in baseball with Julio Urias.
Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals Betting Pick
Despite my respect for Hendricks, the Cubs were an offensively challenged team before the trade deadline, and now their lineup is substantially worse. The Nats still got some dogs on the roster with names like Juan Soto and Josh Bell, and they should be able to make a difference, especially in the later stages of this match.
Bet the home team on Saturday night, and look for the loss of Craig Kimbrel to be a major difference-maker in this game.
Betting Pick: Washington Nationals to win
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