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Nationals vs. Braves Pick – MLB July 2nd

Max Scherzer sure is sticking it to the doubters this season. When I refer to doubters here, I am talking about the people that thought Scherzer was going to get his money and turn into mush. He seems to be really motivated to earn the money the Nationals gave him and is on pace for another Cy Young in 2015. Thus far their investment is paying off. But when a long time to go in that contract, I suppose we’ll make a definite conclusion after it is all said and done. Right now though, it has been a smooth ride for Scherzer and the Nationals when he is on the mound. The Nationals are going to need him later in the season, so they have to hope that he stays on fire when the season is winding down and every game counts. Tonight Scherzer squares off against the Braves, and a pitcher that is making his first major league start tonight in Atlanta.

A nice way to start July off last night with a winner on the UNDER in Arizona between the Dodgers and DBacks. The Dodgers were able to take another one from the Diamondbacks, as they look to assert themselves as a favorite in the National League. Pretty disappointing showing for the DBacks the last couple of days, who are looking to turn the corner as a solid franchise. They’re on the fringe of being a team that can compete, but they still need a couple pieces here and there to get over that hump. The Dodgers have been able to exploit their weaknesses. A nice run could translate to a postseason push for the Diamondbacks, but while they appear close, it isn’t as close as it seems. Losing pitcher Patrick Corbin over a year ago, who was looking like an up and comer, certainly put a dent in those plans. All indications are that he will make a return soon, but in what kind of form? We’ll leave that for another discussion, though. Let’s jump right into the Nationals and Braves meeting tonight.

Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves

Max Scherzer (9-5, 1.79 ERA) vs. Manuel Banuelos (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Quite the ERA for Manuel Banuelos. Okay, it isn’t so impressive when you haven’t started any games in the majors this season. In fact, since joining the minors in 2008, Banuelos doesn’t have any starts. He worked his way up to AAA, where he had a 2.29 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. Banuelos is getting the start due to an injury to William Perez who has been added to the DL. With Perez on the DL, this may not be a one start game for him, the Braves could be relying on him for games to come. What a chore Banuelos faces, though. Oh here you go, your first MLB start is going to be up against the hottest pitcher in baseball, Max Scherzer.

Scherzer has been an absolute flamethrower, lighting opposing batters up for a 1.79 ERA this season. He was 1 hit away from a no-hitter, and then he followed that start up with an actual no-hitter in his next outing. The 2 runs he allowed his last time out really looks like he got slaughtered in comparison. But still, in his last three starts he has allowed only 6 hits in total. That is a great start for one game, never mind three straight. During that run he posted a 0.69 ERA and unheard of 0.24 WHIP. You have to like the hottest pitcher in baseball going against one making his first start in the major leagues. It seems to make too much sense, but sometimes the play that makes sense is the right one to make.

PICK: NATIONALS -1.5 (-115)