Washington (Ross) +132 at Chicago (Hendricks) O/U 7.5
The Chicago Cubs are coming off a series sweep against Pittsburgh that improved their record to an impressive 20-6. Washington has been red hot too with impressive back-to-back series wins against St. Louis and Kansas City. I think they offer value as underdogs tonight in this series opener between a pair of surging NL squads. The Nationals have a very strong and promising young starter in Joe Ross on the mound tonight. Ross sports a 0.79 ERA in four starts and shut down the Cardinals in his most recent outing by allowing only a single run in six innings. Ross has allowed three runs or less in nine of his last 10 starts dating back to last season. And he currently sports the lowest “hard hit” rate (16.9%) among MLB pitchers with 20 or more innings. Kyle Hendricks has done an adequate job thus far (3.52 ERA) with a groundball rate near 60%. He’s a quintessential middle-of-the-rotation arm that tends to be priced on the high side due to his affiliation with the best team in baseball. He’ll be facing a red hot Nationals lineup that has scored 38 runs in their last six games (5-1 record). The Nationals bullpen (ranked in the top 10 in MLB in ERA) is well rested with all their key arms available after an easy 13-2 blowout win over the Royals on Wednesday afternoon. I give Ross the starting pitching edge in this matchup which makes the +130/+135 price tag very attractive.