Strasburg Pitching Change Changes Everything for Nats at Cubs

Mark Lathrop

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 12:36 PM UTC

Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017 12:36 PM UTC

Our MLB handicapper, Mark Lathrop, has changed his mind on a pick for Game 4 of the NLDS between the Cubs and Nationals because Washington has changed its mind on starting Stephen Strasburg. 

Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs

Juan and Jimmy were all over it yesterday, and now that the game has gotten delayed, we are on it again today. Game 4 of the National League Division Series between the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals takes place on Wednesday afternoon from Wrigley Field after being delayed from Tuesday due to rain. Tanner Roark had been scheduled to still take the mound for the Nationals, which was a controversy since Stephen Strasburg could have been used on short rest after the rain postponement. No controversy with the Cubs starter, as they are up 2-1 in the series and have no reason not to stick with Jake Arrieta in this game.

The line for this game had moved up to -168 at some books on Wednesday. The O/U total opened at 8, but had settled in at 7.5 on Tuesday night. But then everything changed on Wednesday afternoon.

As noted, the Nationals were still planning on going with Roark. But why not go with red-hot Strasburg on his normal four days of rest? He was dominant in Game 1 against Chicago. Manager Dusty Baker said Tuesday in announcing Roark again that Strasburg was feeling under the weather. That was met with much derision around the league. Now Baker has finally given in to pressure in starting Strasburg on Wednesday. This is a game changer for the Nationals, as while Roark was a bad matchup vs. the Cubs due to his negative lefty split, Strasburg’s lefty split of .191 BAA will be a nightmare for most of the Chicago lineup.

Arrieta, meanwhile, has put up a 4.16 FIP on the season. He also carries a negative lefty split on the year which won’t help him against Nationals batters Adam Lind, Daniel Murphy, Matt Wieters or Bryce Harper. Arrieta gave up 5 earned runs against the Nationals in June and only lasted 4 innings. In that start he walked a season high six batters, which makes sense with his BB/9 rate being much higher against lefties than righties on the season.

With Arrieta’s negative split still in play I will be backing the Nationals on the money line at almost even money across the board. I also have a slight lean to the Over if I can grab a line at 6.5 by first pitch -- it's at 7 as of this writing.

Free MLB Pick: Nationals +111Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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