Cubs vs. Nationals Pick
Oddsmakers at sports book Bovada.lv have made the Nationals a -125 favorite to win on the moneyline. The Cubs are a +105 underdog and the over-under is 8.
Jon Lester (13-8, 4.33 ERA) draws the start for the Cubs, while Gio Gonzalez (15-9, 2.96) will get the nod for the Nationals. Lester has a 1.32 WHIP with 180 strikeouts in 180 2/3 innings. He threw five shutout innings with four hits allowed, seven strikeouts and no walks in a 9-0 home win against the Reds his last regular season start. Lester is 0-2 against the Nationals this year with a 2.84 ERA, allowing four earned runs on nine hits with 14 strikeouts and four walks over 12 2/3 innings. He has a 4.41 ERA in 81 2/3 road innings this year. Gonzalez has a 1.18 WHIP with 188 strikeouts in 201 innings. He surrendered six earned runs on seven hits with two strikeouts and three walks over 4 1/3 innings in an 11-8 home loss to the Pirates his last regular season start. He carries a 2.91 ERA over 91 1/3 innings at home this season. He allowed one earned run on two hits with eight strikeouts and five walks over six innings in a loss to the Cubs earlier this season.
Chicago took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series Friday night with a 3-0 win behind seven shutout innings from Kyle Hendricks as he allowed two hits with six strikeouts and three walks. Wade Davis picked up the save. Anthony Rizzo was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs to pace the offense. Stephen Strasburg allowed two unearned runs on three hits with 10 strikeouts and one walk over seven innings for Washington.
The season series is tied 4-4 this season including the playoff game with the total going under five times.
The Nationals laid an egg offensively Friday night to ruin a gem from Strasburg. They are now in desperation mode attempting to avoid yet another playoff failure. Gonzalez has begun to regress to where people expected him to be at the outset of this season before he went on to have one of the best years of his career. After a rough end to the regular season, he'll look to rebound in a must-win Game 2 for Washington. If the Nationals can even the series, they'll have a great shot to take control of the series with ace Max Scherzer on the mound in game three. But with Lester having seemingly turned his season in a positive direction, it looks to be the Cubs with the pitching advantage. We like the Cubs to keep control of the series with a win in Game 2.
NLDS DAILY PREDICTION: WASHINGTON NATIONALS -125