Marlins vs. Nationals Run Total Pick MLB – September 21st

I’ve taken a few day hiatus for some family travel, but am back and ready to pack a few winners into an exciting baseball penultimate weekend of the regular season.  My trip has gotten off to a phenomenal start, as we started by visiting some family in Pittsburgh and catching the Reds v. Pirates thriller last night.  It was as an improbably of a win as I’ve seen this season, but all I could walk away saying was “holy bleep Billy Hamilton is the fastest person I’ve seen on the base paths since Deon Sanders (and Billy’s a WAY better base “runner”).  If you haven’t seen the highlights of last night’s insane finish, it’s worth checking out…

OK, on to the here and now and to today’s free pick.

Florida Marlins +255 at Washington Nationals -280 (Total: 7.5)

Tom Koehler (3-10, 4.51 ERA) vs. Stephen Strasburg (7-9, 2.96 ERA)

Ok, first things first, obviously this is an enormous line.  It’s about as wide a margin as you will see in a major league baseball game.  But… that doesn’t mean this is a terrible baseball game.  In fact, it should be an interesting chance to see just how thoroughly Strasburg can dominate a lineup late in the season.  Last year, he was long since shutdown for the year.  This year, he has been cruising along, continuing to rack up quality starts (along with a lot of unfortunate losses and no-decisions, but more on that later).

In his last three starts he is just 1-0 despite a WHIP of 0.79 and an ERA of a nice, tidy 2.96.  A lcak of run support has been the theme for Strasburg all season, as that performance should easily get you two, if not three, wins.  He has been getting just a paltry 3.2 runs of support this season.

However, it may not matter tonight, as I can’t see the Marlins bats doing much damage.  I like Strasburg to thoroughly shut them down tonight.

The Nats are on fire, winning 23 of their last 30 games and finally looking like the ball club that so many thought could win the World Series.  Unfortunately, it’s a little too late barring insane epic collapses by Cincinnati or Pittsburgh – but don’t tell that to the Nats.  I like them to win tonight, but I think the real value tonight is on the UNDER, given the heavy price to pay for Washington.  I’m taking the UNDER 7.5 and banking that the Nationals will regress a bit to the norm and be in their 3 to 5 run range against a low output from the Fish.

Free Pick:  Run TOTAL UNDER 7.5

Chris Scheeren / Author