Previewing the upcoming Cubs vs Nationals MLB game: Pitching probables and key players to watch
The Chicago Cubs will face off against the Washington Nationals in an upcoming MLB game, and the pitching probables and odds have been released. The Cubs have a strong batting average of .276, which ranks second in the league, and their OBP of .348 also ranks second. Additionally, the team has hit 36 home runs, which ranks seventh in the league. The Nationals will be sending left-handed pitcher MacKenzie Gore to the mound, who has been pitching well this season with a 3.00 ERA over five starts.
The Cubs will counter with left-hander Drew Smyly, who has been dominant to start the season with a 1.57 ERA through 24.1 innings pitched and a 4-0 record. However, there are concerns that Smyly's success may not be sustainable, as he doesn't generate many whiffs and has a high batting average on balls in play.
One player to watch for the Cubs is outfielder Nelson Velázquez, who has been impressive in limited opportunities this season. In five games, he has hit two home runs and driven in five runs while batting .462. Cubs hitting coach Dustin Kelly has praised Velázquez for his mental preparation and ability to adapt to a part-time role.
Another key player for the Cubs is left-handed pitcher Justin Steele, who has been putting together a breakout season with a 4-0 record and a 1.19 ERA. In his last start, he allowed just two earned runs in six innings of work against the Miami Marlins.
The Cubs will be looking to bounce back after a tough weekend series against the Marlins, in which they were swept and saw second baseman Nico Hoerner strike out three times in a game for the first time in his career. However, Hoerner has extended his on-base streak to 25 consecutive games, which is the third-longest active streak in baseball.
The Nationals are an above-average offense against left-handed pitching, but the Cubs have handled lefties well this season and may have an advantage with Smyly on the mound.
0. “Cubs vs Nationals: Injuries, Pitching Probables, Broadcast Info” bleachernation.com, 1 May. 2023, https://www.bleachernation.com/cubs/2023/05/01/cubs-vs-nationals-injuries-pitching-probables-broadcast-info/