Nationals vs Cardinals Pick MLB – April 30th

Stephen Strasburg moved to 4-0 yesterday with a win in St. Louis, despite the bullpen allowing two runs in the eighth to make things a little more interesting.  The win made for my seventh winning MLB day in the last nine, fueling some confidence that I have shed the funk of the opening week now that we have a little sample size to work with.  Let’s see if we can keep it rolling into May.

Meanwhile, old school baseball guy probably lost a year off the end of his life last night when Don Mattingly pulled Adam Conley with a no-hitter working in the EIGHTH inning.  In Mattingly’s defense, Conley just walked a batter and threw his 116th pitch – a pretty heavy workload for modern starting pitchers.  Plus, he is likely doing this kid’s arm (and career) a huge favorite.  But in old-school baseball guy’s day, pitchers pitched both ends of a double header and weren’t a bunch of mamby pansies like today’s spoiled athletes…

I don’t have a dog in the fight, but could definitely hear my Dad grumbling when Conley got lifted…

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Today’s Free Pick:

Washington Nationals +120 at St. Louis Cardinals -128 (Total: 7)

Joe Ross vs. Jaime Garcia

It seems like the rich always get richer in the National League.  The Cardinals lose Adam Wainwright last year?  No worries!  They find a few guys bouncing around the farm system, bring ‘em up and win 100 games.  The Nationals lose Jordan Zimmermann in free agency?  No big deal, we have this kid named Joe Ross who is pretty good.  How good?  Well, through three starts he has a WHIP of 0.84 and has only allowed ONE RUN, so I think he’ll be OK.   He was skipped in the rotation on Tuesday due to a blister, but no linger effects are expected today.

Not a bad start for the 22-year old…

And not that Ross will keep THIS up, but if he is even close to as good as his early performance indicates, he seems like a pretty nice third starter for the postseason, right?

Opposing him is a proven commodity, Jaime Garcia, who is also off to an excellent start to the season.  Garcia enters with 3.24 ERA and just a 1-1 record, but hitter are batting just .198 against him and he has been pretty good against the Nats in his career with a 4-1 record and a 2.88 ERA.

As good as both of these offenses are, this could be a low-scoring affair in which one or two clutch hits or bullpen mistakes are the difference.  I’ll give the slight nod to the hotter team, Washington.  Garcia is proven, but I think Ross has something special building.  His team, even after the disastrous offensive lull against Philly, is STILL 15-7 and cruising along.  Look for them to give him a few runs of support off Garcia and for the extra rest to help him get deep into the ballgame.  I’ll take the Nats strong backend of the bullpen to hold down the fort, and the nice underdog value play of +120.

Free Pick: Washington Nationals to WIN +120 – note: 2:15 EST start time

Chris Scheeren / Author