Backing Lester When Cubs & Nationals Collide on Saturday

Willie Bee

Friday, August 10, 2018 3:16 PM UTC

Friday, Aug. 10, 2018 3:16 PM UTC

A Windy City skirmish on Saturday beckons our intrepid handicapper who expects a better effort from Jon Lester as the Cubs and Nationals continue their weekend series.

Washington at Chicago CubsSaturday, 4:05 p.m. ET (Fox Sports 1)Free MLB Pick: Cubs RLBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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It may not hold quite the luster that was projected when many of us circled this weekend’s series in Chicago between the Cubs and Washington Nationals before the season began, but the matchup remains intriguing as it continues Saturday with a bump battle between Tanner Roark (6-12, 4.21) and Jon Lester (12-4, 3.44).

The clubs convened Friday with a matinee, Jeremy Hellickson going for the Nats opposite Kyle Hendricks of the Cubbies in a clash Bookmaker was selling Chicago on a -145 money line. Washington arrived sitting third in the NL East, 5½ behind Philadelphia and part of an 8-team logjam for the two wild cards in the Senior Circuit. Chicago, meanwhile, owned a 2-game lead in the Central Division and sporting the best record in the NL.

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Put a #CurlyW in the books!

FINAL // #Nats 6, Braves 3

— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 9, 2018

Cubs 1-3 In Lester’s Post-ASG Starts

Between giddy gab regarding launch angles and spin velocity, much of the media’s focus on the series surrounded Bryce Harper and whether he might join his old Las Vegas pal Kris Bryant on the Cubs. The Washington outfielder has heated up since the All-Star break, raising his average nearly 25 points with five homers. Bryant will not appear in this series due to his second DL stint of the season for a sore shoulder, the Cubs 8-7 during his latest absence.

There might not be as big of a disparity between Saturday’s hurlers as one is initially led to believe with Roark a 12-game loser and Lester a 12-game winner. Roark has put a poor first half behind him by winning all three of his post-ASG starts, the former Fighting Illini allowing only two runs over the course of those 22 innings. Lester has trended the other way with Chicago 1-3 in his last four assignments, his latest effort a no-decision vs. the Padres on Sunday when he allowed five runs in five innings as -165 chalk on the MLB odds card.

Rivalry Trends, Windy City Forecast & A Free Pick

The last time we saw these clubs together on a diamond was in the playoffs last October, the Cubs prevailing on the road in an exciting Game 5 of the NLDS to advance. The Nationals have the overall advantage during the regular season in the rivalry, 315-291, and took four of the seven meetings a year ago. Two of the three games in Chicago finished ‘over’ before both postseason matches at Wrigley fell short.

The weatherman is covering his backside with a 10%-20% chance of rain Saturday in Chicago, but all signs point to a nice afternoon with very little wind to affect the total one way or the other. With my free baseball picks in a bit of a rut, perhaps I’m jinxing the Cubs with a run-line play on the Loveable Losers.

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