The Nationals and Rangers are tied for the second best record in baseball at 39-24, which is well behind the Cubs at 43-18. Scherzer and Gonzalez would like some revenge against the Cubs and they're playing some good baseball right now. So are the Cubs. This should be a fun series.
Cubs (100 PA)
- OBP: Ben Zobrist (.431)
- ISO: Anthony Rizzo (.264)
- HR: Kris Bryant (15)
- R+RBI: Bryant (92)
- wRC+: Zobrist (153)
- BSR: Javier Baez (2.5)
- SP K/9: Jake Arrieta (9.31)
- SP BB/9: Jon Lester (1.79)
- SP FIP: Arrieta (2.56)
- RP K/9: Pedro Strop (13.10)
- RP BB/9: Hector Rondon (0.89)
- RP FIP: Rondon (1.83)
- WAR: Bryant/Dexter Fowler (3.0)
Anthony Rizzo tied Bryant in home runs and then a couple innings later Bryant passed him again. Zobrist has passed Fowler for wRC+ lead and Bryant has caught Fowler. If the Cubs weren't down so many outfielders, now wouldn't be a bad time to rest Fowler for a couple days. He's been struggling for awhile.
- OBP: Bryce Harper (.412)
- ISO: Harper (.253)
- HR: Harper (13)
- R+RBI: Daniel Murphy (80)
- wRC+: Murphy (172)
- BSR: Anthony Rendon (3.3)
- SP K/9: Stephen Strasburg (11.51)
- SP BB/9: Strasburg/Gio Gonzalez (2.41))
- SP FIP: Strasburg (2.75)
- RP K/9: Shawn Kelly (12.46)
- RP BB/9: Yusmeiro Petit (1.86)
- RP FIP: Kelly (2.23)
- WAR: Murphy (3.0)
I'm surprised that Bryce Harper isn't leading in wRC+ and WAR. I'm disappointed that the homophobic Daniel Murphy is. This team has some really good pitching. The Cubs missed out on seeing Strasburg in Wrigley, but they'll get to face him in this one. They hit about a billion home runs off of Scherzer, or so it seemed anyway.
K/9, BB/9, ERA, FIP, Projected ERA listed for each pitcher
Scherzer has had a strange season. His K-BB% is 23.4%, which is right in line with what he's done over the last few seasons. It's also excellent. He's managed to leave 82.6% of the runners on base, which isn't sustainable. He's given up 16 home runs in 88.1 innings. 16.5% of his fly balls have left the yard. He's due for some regression on that and it will lower his still respectable 3.57 ERA quite a bit.
After his start against the Cubs on May 6th in which he went 5 innings, allowed 7 hits and 7 runs. He gave up 4 home runs that day and struckout 7. He had three consecutive starts in which he allowed 2 runs before facing the Cardinals. He gave up 5 against them in 7 innings and then his last 2 starts he's allowed 2 runs in 15 innings.
Hendricks keeps the ball on the ground and in the ballpark. It's how he survives, but he also has done a surprisingly great job at striking batters out with less than overpowering stuff. He pitched against Washington on May 5th and threw 6 innings, allowed 2 hits and no runs. He walked 2 and struckout 4.
Tuesday: John Lackey, RHP (9.22, 2.09, 2.63, 2.98, 3.38) vs Gio Gonzalez, LHP (9.00, 2.41, 3.93, 3.46, 3.63), 6:05 PM CT
Gonzalez has given up 8 home runs in 71 innings, which is more than double his per 9 rate from the last two seasons. It's the most he's given up per 9 since he was with the A's back in 2009. Since 2009 he had done a great job of keeping his HR/FB rate well below 10%, but this year it's 11.8%. He's still striking out a lot of batters and his control is better than it's ever been.
He faced on the Cubs on May 7th and it didn't go too well. He gave up 7 hits and 5 runs in 5.2 innings. He walked a batter, struckout 2 and gave up a home run.
Lackey struckout 19.7% of the batters he faced in 2014 and 19.5% last season. He's struckout 27.1% of the batters this season. He's seen this huge increase in strikeouts whil ehis walk rate has remained about the same. Lackey threw 7 innings against the Nationals on May 6th and allowed 6 runs, 2 hits and a walk. He gave up a home run and struckout 11.
Wednesday: Jason Hammel, RHP (7.86, 3.15, 2.36, 3.68, 3.84) vs Stephen Strasburg, RHP (11.51, 2.41, 3.03, 2.75, 2.89), 3:05 PM CT
I'm excited to see Strasburg face the Cubs, which is something he hasn't done since 2013. His strikeout rate is better than it has ever been. Strasburg is great at just about everything, but he's had trouble limiting the home runs. He's given up 9 of them this year, which isn't terrible, but it's not great either. He gave up 14 last year in just 127.1 innings. Again, not terrible, but not great. I'd loved to have seen what a healthy Cubs offense could have done against Strasburg, but I don't have high hopes for this game. A lot is going to rest on Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Dexter Fowler and maybe even Chris Coghlan.
Hammel was pretty bad in his last start. He gave up 8 hits and 3 runs in 5.2 innings. He seemed a little upset that he was taken out in the 6th inning, or he could have just been upset at himself. A couple of those runs were on solo home runs. He didn't walk anybody and struckout 4.
Prediction: it's not often you find a game the Cubs aren't favored using 538's ELO, but they aren't favored in two of these games. I think the Cubs find a way to win one, but I don't think they win the series. Nationals take 2 of 3.