The Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals will be featured on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball at Wrigley Field. The two teams have split the first two games of the series, with the Nationals winning on Saturday afternoon, 9-4. The series finale will feature a great pitching matchup between two veteran pitchers.
This game is a potential playoff preview, but the Nationals still have some work to do to reach the 2018 playoffs. The Nationals are still 5.5 games out in the National League East, trailing both the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves. The Cubs continue to lead the National League Central, but their lead is down to two games entering Sunday. The Cubs are +130 for Sunday night’s game.
Hamels Looks To Stay Hot With Cubs
Veteran left hander Cole Hamels looks to stay hot for the Cubs on Sunday night. Hamels is 2-0 with a 0.82 earned run average since joining the Cubs at the end of August. The Cubs have had one of the worst starting rotations in baseball this season, but Hamels has been great since the trade. Hamels will make his first start at Wrigley Field since throwing a no-hitter there as a member of the Phillies in 2015.
The Cubs are still playing without former Most Valuable Player, Kris Bryant. Bryant has been on the disabled list since July with a shoulder soreness, and there is no timetable for his return. Javier Baez has been the best offensive player for the Cubs this season. His 25 homers and 89 runs batted in lead the team, and he is on the short list of MVP candidates in the National League. The Cubs will need to find offense on Sunday night.
Harper, Murphy Powering Nationals
The Nationals are hoping a late surge can get them into the 2018 playoffs. Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy are leading the charge for them since the All-Star break. Murphy belted a two-run homer on Saturday in the Nationals 9-4 win. Harper has his 28 homers and driven in 71 runs to lead the Nationals this season. The left-handed batters will face a tough challenge against Cole Hamels on Sunday night.
Washington must feel good about sending Max Scherzer to the mound in this game. The hard-throwing righty is 15-5 with a 2.28 earned run average in 2018, and will be a finalist for the Cy Young Award again. Scherzer has not faced the Cubs since last October when Chicago got to Scherzer and beat the Nationals in game 5 of the NLDS.
Cubs Win on Sunday Night
The Sunday night game between the Nationals and Cubs should be a very competitive ballgame. Both Hamels and Scherzer have had terrific MLB careers, and runs might be hard to come by in this game. The Cubs need a solid performance from Hamels after Jon Lester got rocked on Saturday.
The Nationals will expect Scherzer to be his dominant self in this game. The Cubs feature a lineup of guys who strikeout, but they also have plenty of power in their lineup. Look for the Cubs to belt a few home runs and win the game on Sunday night. Bet the Chicago Cubs +130 to beat the Nationals on Sunday.