Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jon Lester
Betting Odds: Washington Nationals vs. Chicago Cubs
- Washington Nationals Moneyline: +116
- Chicago Cubs Moneyline: -126
- Over/Under: 8.5 (-120/+100)
- First pitch: 4:05 p.m. ET
- TV: FS1
If you missed a recent piece I did on pitchers who excel in the second-half of seasons, I highlighted Tanner Roark as one to keep your eye on. The Nationals right-hander has always pitched much better after the All-Star Break and has done so once again this season.
Roark, who has a career second-half ERA that sits over a run lower than his first-half ERA, has been absolutely dominant in three starts since the break this year. He has a 3-0 record with a sparkling 0.82 ERA in those games. The former Illinois product went at least seven innings in each. I expect a strong outing from a confident Roark, who may have a little extra pep in his step pitching in his home state. (Roark is 3-1 with a 3.24 ERA in three career starts at Wrigley Field.) He can also help himself a little at the plate.
On the complete other end of the spectrum, Jon Lester has been an absolute mess since the All-Star Break. The Cubs lefty is 0-2 in four second-half starts with a staggering 8.53 ERA. After benefiting from good fortune for most of the first half, he’s on a regression ride that is far from over. Look no further than his 4.83 FIP (a more accurate measure of performance) — over a full run higher than his 3.44 ERA. I think a healthy Nationals lineup can take advantage of a reeling Lester. On the surface the Cubs are sending out a 12-4 starter vs. one that is 6-12, but it’s the latter you should trust.
With Kelvin Herrera and Seth Doolittle on the Disabled List, the Nationals bullpen is a mess right now so I will be splitting this bet between the full game and first five innings.
The Bet: Nationals First-Five +108 (1/2 unit) and Nationals +115 (1/2 unit)
Editor’s note: The opinion on this game is from the individual writer and is based on his research, analysis and perspective. It is independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights