A matchup of NL East and NL Central opponents tonight at Busch Stadium, as the Nationals and Cardinals meet in an important battle. The Brewers were shocked by the bat of Ryan Braun yesterday at home. Braun swatted a grand slam in the top of the 9th inning to take a 7-4 lead and were able to hang on after the Cardinals struck back in the bottom half of the inning.
The Cardinals added a couple of runs, which would have been nice hadn’t they given up a grand slam. Michael Wacha had a great day at the office, but the bullpen let him down. Wacha went 5 innings allowing no runs, but the Cardinals still ended up allowing 7 runs on the afternoon. All were because of inept pitching by the bullpen.
The Cardinals will stay home for the next three days before taking off for Chicago. That will be their biggest series of the season thus far. The most important of all will be the regular season finale, which will be against the Cubs again, but that time at Busch Stadium. Thanks to back-to-back losses this weekend, the Cardinals are holding onto a slim 2-game lead in the NL Central.
Deciding the division may come down to the final weekend with the Cubs in town. Who knows what the NL Central is going to look like then. In other words, this series against the Nationals is important, but it’s important for the visitors as well.
The Nationals are trying to hold on for homefield advantage in the Wild Card Game. There is still also the chance that they fall and slip out of the picture all together. A lot is on the line over the next three days in St. Louis. Stephen Strasburg and Dakota Hudson are scheduled to get the starting nods in this one. Head below for our free Nationals vs. Cardinals pick.
Washington Nationals vs. St. Louis Cardinals Pick:
Betting odds provided by bovada.lv
Stephen Strasburg is going to be a tall order for the Cardinals in this contest. He has been able to stay healthy this season and is living up to expectations in 2019. This is the first season since 2014 that Strasburg has made at least 30 starts. He’s missed time quite frequently throughout his career and finally got to stay around this year. I don’t want to be jinxing him, though, because the most important time of the season is upon us.
Strasburg goes into St. Louis with an ERA of 3.49 and 1.05 WHIP. He’s allowed 3 or fewer runs in five straight games, so he has been pitching well. However, the Cardinals have had success against Strasburg in the past. They’re one of only a few teams who have brought out some hot bats against Strasburg.
The Cards are hitting .289 in 114 at-bats against him. That’s not out of this world, but .289 against a pitcher of his caliber is solid. He has been good on the road, though not spectacular with a 3.61 ERA in 107.1 innings.
On the other side, Dakota Hudson has had a pitching clinic against the Nationals before. He’s faced the Nationals in 33 at-bats and has been sharp throughout. The Nationals are hitting .182 with no home runs hit against Hudson. Overall, Hudson has largely been flying under the radar.
His numbers have been even better than Strasburg, with a 3.38 ERA in 159.2 innings pitched. Busch Stadium has been nice to him as well, as he’s posted a 2.92 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 86.1 innings. There appears to be a lot of value with the Cardinals in this one at the current price.