Nationals at Reds – MLB Pick for April 1st

We got burned on the run line last night when we backed the Boston Red Sox against the Tampa Bay Rays. Rick Porcello looked solid as expected and the Rays struggled to get anything going on offense all afternoon long.

However, the Boston bats just didn’t do nearly as much as I expected them to. Boston jumped out to a 3-0 lead but in the end couldn’t hold off the Rays and cover the run and a half.

This one felt like a bad beat as we entered the bottom of the eighth inning with a two-run lead and lost it when Carlos Gomez jacked a solo shot to cut the lead to just one run and ruin our cover. It happens, you play with that run line, and sometimes you get burned.

We were certainly on the right side, but outside of Xander Bogarts, who is absolutely crushing the ball so far this season, the Boston bats have been just mediocre against this average at best Tampa Bay pitching staff.

Today we will take a look at the matchup between the Washington Nationals and the Cincinnati Reds.

The Washington Nationals are in Cincinnati Sunday for game three of the three-game series with the Reds, looking for the series sweep. The Nationals took last night’s game 13-7 behind a strong start from Steven Strasburg.

Strasburg went six and a third, allowing three runs, only one earned, while striking out seven. The National’s bullpen was shaky down the stretch and made this game look closer than it really was. The Nationals will start former Cy Young Award candidate Gio Gonzalez (0-0 0.00 ERA).

The Reds will counter with Sal Romano (0-0 0.00 ERA). The Nationals are -137 road favorites. The game total over-under is set at 8.5 runs. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM PST from Great American Ballpark.

The Washington Nationals should be amongst the best teams in the National League this season. And they have sure looked like it so far early this season. Washington has showcased great starting pitching and explosive power bats in this series.

They took game one in shutout fashion as Max Scherzer couldn’t be touched. Then in game two, they showed they can swing the bats and win in a slugfest as they posted thirteen runs on the board.

This Nationals lineup is one of the best in baseball, and they can score on just about anybody. The key for Washington will be to stay healthy. Bryce Harper has been known to get banged up, and the same goes for shortstop Trea Turner and catcher Matt Wieters.

If the Nationals can keep all their best players on the field this year, they are locks to win their division and should be in the conversation for World Series favorites.

For the Nationals today, they will be starting Gio Gonzalez. Gio doesn’t get nearly the love that I think he deserves in this rotation. It is hard to stand out when you are pitching behind Steven Strasburg and Max Scherzer, but Gio has put together a great body of work and would be the ace of a lot of team’s staffs.

Gonzalez went 15-9 last year with an ERA under three and finished sixth in the National League Cy Young voting. The workhorse starter pitched over 200 innings and was one of the more consistent arms in the league.

Not many teams have a pitcher as good as Gonzalez so it goes to show you just how good this rotation is that Gio is their number three guy. The Reds will need a strong performance tonight if they want to avoid the sweep.

The Reds will start youngster Sal Romano. Romano has very little MLB experience and sports a lifetime 5-8 record with an ERA of 4.45 in one season of work. He has struggled in his short career to keep runners off base and is a work in progress for the rebuilding Reds. They will need a great performance from Romano if they want to hang with the Nationals tonight.

Get out your brooms, here comes the sweep! I am surprised to see this number so low. Gio Gonzalez was a pitcher that I backed a lot last year, and he crushed it for me. I am not sure why he doesn’t get the love he deserves, but this guy always seems to produce solid results and is never valued all that highly in the betting market.

The National’s bullpen scares me a little bit as they looked terrible last night, giving up four runs in just two and two thirds. But in the end, the Nationals are the much better team on the field tonight. Give me the Washington Nationals at a tragically under-valued -137 tonight for the sweep!

The Bet: Washington Nationals -137

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