The Washington Nationals and Houston Astros continue one of the better interleague matchups you will this year. In what could be a preview of the World Series, the Nats and Stros meet for the third day in a row on Thursday. The Nationals took the first, and then the Astros returned the favor as they pulled away late last night.
With the win last night, the Astros jumped up to 77-49, while the Nationals remained at 75-48. The Astros are trying to fend off the Red Sox for the first overall seed in the American League. The National League isn’t so interesting, as the Dodgers are running away with it at 89-36. Can the Dodgers really mess this up?
The path to the World Series has been looking pretty clear for them, and even clearer after the Bryce Harper injury. However, the Dodgers have choked before and it’s no way a lock they reach the World Series. The same goes for the Astros, who have some talent to defeat to get there. Luckily for the Nationals, the Bryce Harper injury was not as bad, or looked as bad, as it actually was.
Harper is out with a bone bruise after it looked like he destroyed his knee on a play at first base. Reports suggest that he might be back for the postseason. It would certainly be a blow for the Nationals if he can’t return. There would be a dark hole in that lineup.
It’s an impressive looking pitching matchup tonight, with Stephen Strasburg taking on Dallas Keuchel. The World Series’ dreams of the Nationals and Astros may ride on the arms of these two guys. They are at the peak of their careers, and it’s time to lead their respective teams to the promise land. Corey Kluber and Clayton Kershaw might have something to say about that.
Well, if Kershaw can get healthy before the postseason begins that is. He continues to battle lower-back pain and will be out until at least September. Strasburg and Keuchel hope they can send a message to the rest of the majors tonight. Head below for our free Nationals vs. Astros interleague pick.
Washington Nationals vs. Houston Astros Pick
Stephen Strasburg (10-4, 3.24 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel (11-2, 2.58 ERA)
The Nationals have been getting terrific pitching over the course of the last ten days. Harper goes down and others step it up in the pitching staff. Last night was the first time since August 5th that they allowed 5 or more runs. Besides that game, they allowed an average of just 2 runs per game in their last ten outings. Strasburg has been hitting peak performance lately as well, posting an ERA of 1.80 and 0.93 WHIP across his last three outings. Overall, he’s been great on the road with a 2.43 ERA and 7-2 record.
Keuchel’s numbers haven’t looked nearly as impressive of late, with a 4.58 ERA in his last three starts. However, it was one bad start which pushed his numbers up significantly. He allowed 8 runs to the Texas Rangers, but responded with no runs against the Oakland Athletics. I think Keuchel got his one bad start out of the way, and now should cruise all the way to the postseason. He’s been unhittable at home in Houston, with an ERA of 1.35 and 0.86 WHIP. I like another low-scoring final score tonight behind Strasburg and Keuchel.
PICK: UNDER 8 (-110)