Cubs vs. Nationals prediction and odds for Thursday, May 4 (Stroman locks down Nats)
By Reed Wallach
Marcus Stroman's strong start to 2023 continues on Wednesday night against one of the worst teams in baseball in the Nationals.
Stroman has been lights out this season, posting a 2.29 ERA through six starts while upping his strikeout rate. He now gets to face a poor Washington Nationals team that is still in the infancy of its rebuild.
The Nats will counter with veteran minor leaguer in Jake Irvin, who is making his big league debut against the Cubs on Wednesday.
How should we bet on some questions around the Nats starter? Let's first check out the odds:
Cubs vs. Nationals odds, run line and total
Cubs vs. Nationals prediction and pick
Irvin is a huge question mark, a minor leaguer since 2018 in the Nationals farm system, and the Cubs are more than capable of chasing him off the mound with the team's ability to get on base (second in on-base percentage this season).
Instead, I'll focus on Stroman's ability to keep a lid on the Nats. Washington is 25th in wRC+, which qunatifies the rate of run scoring chances team generates. Stroman is striking out batters at as high of a rate as he has in his career at over eight per nine innings and does a great job of limiting opponents to string together hits with about six per nine.
If the Nats aren't going to be able to put runners on base consistently, I struggle to see them plating many runs against the Stroman, or the Cubs bullpen that is right around the big league average.
This is a big price to lay with the Cubs on the road, but they are more than capable of blowing out the Nats, which scares me off the total. Instead, I'll eye the Nationals team total under as my favorite bet in this one.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.