Time for Some Star-Studded Pitching Matchups: Cubs at Nationals, May 17 - 19, 2019

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Time for Some Star-Studded Pitching Matchups: Cubs at Nationals, May 17 – 19, 2019

Chicago Cubs

Losing that series to the Reds really stinks, not only because of the added marks in the loss column (which, duh), but also because of what those losses are leading into.

The Washington Nationals haven’t been great this season, but over the next two days, the Cubs will face arguably the best pitcher in baseball, Max Scherzer (2.1 WAR is tops in MLB) and the fifth best pitcher in baseball, Stephen Strasburg (1.7 WAR) in their home ballpark. The only bright side is that the Cubs are countering with three of their best, as well.

Tonight, Cole Hamels will square off against Scherzer and tomorrow Jon Lester will take on Strasburg. Win either one of those games, and you like the Cubs chances to take the series, because Kyle Hendricks is going on Sunday (against Jeremy Hellickson) and he’s been pitching as well as anybody in baseball. Indeed, five of the six starters we’ll see this weekend are among the league’s best, in a number of different ways:

  • Scherzer: 2.1 WAR (1st), 2.25 FIP (2nd), 7.90 K/BB (3rd)
  • Strasburg: 1.7 WAR (5th), 2.74 FIP (6th), 32.6 K% (6th)
  • Hamels: 56.5 GB% (3rd), 3.08 FIP (18th), .197 AVG (9th)
  • Lester: 1.16 ERA (1st), 2.72 FIP (5th)
  • Hendricks: 2.86 ERA (15th), 3.11 FIP (19th), 4.4 BB% (9th)

Good luck, bats.

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (25-16) just lost their first series since the beginning of April, but have otherwise been doing plenty of winning. They have lost two straight, though, so a win tonight would be most wise.

The Washington Nationals (18-25) just took two out of three from the Mets after splitting a four-game series in Los Angeles and being swept by the Brewers. They’re 7.0 games below .500 and 6.0 games out of first place.

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

  • Friday, May 17th at 6:05 CT on WGN, 670 The Score
  • Saturday, May 18th at 6:15 CT on FOX, 670 The Score
  • Sunday, May 19th at 6:05 CT on ESPN, 670 The Score

Chicago Cubs

Probable Pitchers:

  • Cole Hamels: 3.08 ERA, 3.79 FIP; 2.88 K/BB
  • Jon Lester: 1.16 ERA, 2.72 FIP; 4.88 K/BB
  • Kyle Hendricks: 2.86 ERA, 3.11 FIP; 4.56 K/BB

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Willson Contreras
  • 1B – Anthony Rizzo(?)
  • 2B – Daniel Descalso
  • 3B – Kris Bryant
  • SS – Javy Baez
  • LF – Kyle Schwarber
  • CF – Albert Almora
  • RF – Jason Heyward

Unavailable: Brandon Morrow, Tony Barnette, Pedro Strop, Ben Zobrist, Anthony Rizzo(?)

Washington Nationals

Probable Pitchers:

  • Max Scherzer: 3.64 ERA, 2.25 FIP; 7.90 K/BB
  • Stephen Strasburg: 3.63 ERA, 2.74 FIP; 4.69 K/BB
  • Jeremy Hellickson: 6.00 ERA, 5.80 FIP; 1.71 K/BB

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Yan Gomes
  • 1B – Gerardo Parra
  • 2B – Brian Dozier
  • 3B – Anthony Rendon
  • SS – Wilmer Difo
  • LF – Juan Soto
  • CF – Victor Robles
  • RF – Adam Eaton

Unavailable: Trea Turner, Ryan Zimmerman, Andrew Stevenson, Tony Sipp, Trevor Rosenthal, Matt Adams

Keep An Eye Out For …

Cubs Pitcher: Kyle Hendricks has been on FIRE lately, lasting deep into ballgames and using very few pitches to get it done. He might be the key to winning the series this week, so let’s hope he keeps it up.

Cubs Player: Javy Baez is just an absolute animal. I know Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Willson Contreras are all doing great things at the plate, as well, but I just can’t believe Baez has a 14-game hitting streak (22 hits) and is hitting .326 in the big leagues right now. Even when we were projecting his ceiling back in the day, we figured he’d hit for a ton of power, but NEVER this much average. He’s so freaking good. It’s unbelievable and a lot of fun. With two tough righties coming up, he’ll have a hard time keeping the streak alive, but I’ll be watching and rooting very closely.

Nationals Pitcher: Stephen Strasburg has been on top of the strikeouts and walks this season (75Ks to 16 BBs), but offenses have been able to get to him. Through 9 starts, he’s been tagged for four runs or more four separate times. If the Cubs can be a little patient and make some contact, they stand a chance. Hopefully, Anthony Rizzo will be back by tomorrow.

Nationals Player: Juan Soto has been the best hitter on the Nationals this season … with a whopping 106 wRC+. Indeed, the team 88 wRC+ ranks just 20th in baseball this season. If the Cubs offense can get a lead, the pitching staff *should* be able to hold this team down.



Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami