Gio Gonzalez did his job yesterday, but the Nats bats failed to comply in 2-1 loss at St. Louis. Gio and the Nats looked like the better value at slight plus money, but Michael Wacha was up to the task, completely shutting down one of the best offenses in the league. Four straight underdogs winners has given way to a trio of losers, so it is time to get this holiday weekend on the right track this afternoon.
We have another nice day of baseball on tap today with some interesting ballgames. Jake Arrieta takes the mound for the first time since yielding seven stolen bases and seeing the catcher who placed the blame squarely on his shoulders DFA’d. The Rockies and Diamondbacks conclude their series with a nice pitching matchup between German Marquez and Tijuan Walker and a fantastic nightcap on ESPN between the Nats and Cards with Scherzer and Carlos Martinez set to duel.
It’s going to be a great day of action. Let’s make it better by getting back to our winning ways!
Today’s MLB Pick:
Washington Nationals -128 at St. Louis Cardinals +118 (Total: 7.5)
Max Scherzer (9-5, 2.06 ERA) vs. Carlos Martinez (6-6, 2.88 ERA)
Two probable All Stars hook up tonight in a game that could feature a lot of missed bats. I say “probable” only in the case of Martinez. The only “probable” affixed to Scherzer and “All Star” comes when the word “Starter” is introduced. Max has been every bit as good, if not better, than he was in last year’s Cy Young campaign and this year his team is having the success to match. The Nats enter with the third-best record in the National League and a +87 run differential. They have dropped three straight, including the first two in the St. Louis series, but there’s no better way to stem the tide than to throw the best pitcher in the league on the mound.
But it won’t be easy for Scherzer, despite the fact he has allowed one or less runs in six of his last seven starts (and the other was two runs over 7.1 innings) and has struck out 151 batters against just 24 walks this season. The Cardinals will counter with their own ace in Carlos Martinez. He enters with an ERA under three and has only allowed five runs in his last four starts, totaling 27 innings in the process. He has notched 121 strikeouts this season against 38 walks – less dominant than Max, but certainly dominating in his own right.
The Nationals have scuffled a little in this series, but do possess the highest scoring offense in the National League, so I expect them to muster at least a little offense tonight. And that should be more than enough for Scherzer. The Nats have won six of his last eight starts and he has allowed only six runs since May 20th. Look for him to be big tonight and stave off the weekend sweep at Busch. Scherzer is from the St. Louis area and seems to pitch well in his homecomings, allowing just four runs in his 18 career innings at Busch.
I’ll take the Nats to finally get some hits today and for Scherzer to enjoy the hometown ESPN Sunday Night Baseball spotlight.
Today’s MLB Pick: WASHINGTON NATIONALS TO WIN -128