Nationals at Cardinals – Free Pick NLDS Game One

Washington Nationals -110 at St. Louis Cardinals +100 (Total: 7) – NLDS Game One

Gio Gonzalez vs. Adam Wainwright

The Nationals finished the regular season with the best record in all of baseball and earned their first playoff berth as a franchise and will host the first playoff game in the nation’s capital since 1933… but not today.  Because of some odd scheduling quirks (and personally, some blundering by MLB) they will instead open the postseason at the defending World Champs, St Louis, who finished the season with ten fewer wins.

So will the home field discrepancy make a difference?  Will St. Louis continue to conjure up their inexplicable October magic?  Let’s dig inside the numbers and see if we can keep our perfect postseason record (all four game correct, 5-0 in picks overall, with four of the five pick paying -115 or higher and two plus-money) intact!

Gio Gonzalez gets the ball for the Nats, looking to put a nice punctuation mark on his Cy Young-caliber season.  He has faced the Cardinals once this season, pitching a complete game shutout.  On the season he is 21-8 with a 2.89 ERA and 1.14 WHIP, and should be very well rested, having last pitched since September 28th.  I expect Gio and his laid back demeanor to handle the road pressure of the Playoffs very well and pitch a solid ballgame.

The Cardinals counter with Adam Wainwright, who many fans thought would get the ball for the one-game Wildcard playoff.  Wainwright has had a decent bounce-back season, but nowhere near the dominance pre-injury.  He finished the year just 14-13 with an ERA barely under 4.00, and had some struggles against the Nats earlier this season, going just 1-1 with a 7.09 ERA in three starts.

The Cardinals won three of the last five against the Cardinals, but prior to that Washington had won five straight to take the season series.  Frankly, given the pitching edge to Washington, I am surprised they are near pick-em in this game, but like the opportunity to get a flat money line and Gio Gonzalez.

I like Washington in this game, but my official pick is the OVER 7.  These two have gone OVER the runline in eight of their last nine meetings.  In fact, in their last ten meetings not a single game was UNDER 7, and eight of the ten were into double digits.  Both of these lineups are hitting well, and I expect them each to scratch across a few runs.  I like Washington to win this series, and give them the slight edge tonight, but am admittedly wary of wagering against the Cardinals.

Free Pick:  Run TOTAL OVER 7 (-105)