The Washington Nationals play host to the Miami Marlins this weekend in what is quickly becoming must wins for the Nats. They put themselves in this difficult position, and now they’re going to have to find a way out of it to find a place in the postseason. It’s not going to be impossible, but it’s getting pretty close to that point. Well behind in the NL East race, their best chance of getting in is going to be through a wildcard.
However, even that is going to be awfully difficult. Like I said, they have no one to blame but themselves. They have one of the best pitchers in baseball, Max Scherzer, and then a guy who many regard as the best hitter in baseball, Bryce Harper. His numbers certainly don’t look like the best, though. There are two hitters on the same team, Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, who have better numbers that Harper.
Nevertheless, Harper has been seeing the ball much better in the second-half. He’s brought his batting average up from around .210 to .240 in about a month. Harper is looking out for his bank account, which is going to look a lot bigger next season. He’s going to get a big contract regardless, but probably not the insane money of $500 million he was dreaming of.
Harper helped his cause out last night with another nice performance against the Marlins. There will undoubtedly be a bidding war for Harper unfolding in the offseason. It’s likely safe to say that he isn’t going to be back with the Nationals in 2018. The Nats had a team on paper that should have excelled this season but they’re coming up way short. Get our free Marlins vs. Nationals pick below.
Miami Marlins vs. Washington Nationals Pick
Wei-Yin Chen (4-9, 5.32 ERA) vs. Tommy Milone (1-1, 5.24 ERA)
It’s been two different seasons for Wei-Yen Chen. There is Chen at home where he has been outstanding, and then there’s his work on the road where he looks like a high school pitcher. In what is the biggest differential in the league between the home and road, Chen owns a nice 2.05 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in Miami. However, when he heads on the road it’s a disaster to put it lightly. Chen has posted an ERA of 10.27, 1.96 WHIP, and .402 OBA in 37.2 innings. It’s understandable why some pitchers have better numbers at home than on the road, but it isn’t easy to explain why there is more than an 8.00 differential between his own park and games out of Miami.
Chen was in Washington a couple of road starts ago. He predictably got nailed for 7 hits and 6 runs in 4.1 innings. The Nats went on to destroy the Marlins by a score of 18-4. By the looks of it, the Marlins are going to need score runs on Milone, which could be a possibility. Milone enters with an ERA of 5.24 and 5.54 ERA at home. He’s been bad for the past few years, with a 5.71 ERA in 2016, a 6.43 ERA with the Brewers and 8.56 ERA with the Mets, both in 2017. Milone is only starting because the injuries they’ve had to deal with to their rotation. If Stephen Strasburg was healthy, Milone would be down in the minors. Milone had a 4.19 ERA in Triple-A before jumping up to the majors. I have to believe Chen and Milone will both allow some runs in this game. The OVER looks like a good bet here.