Nationals vs. Cardinals Pick – MLB September 2nd

There was a point this season where it was looking like the Washington Nationals were going to run away with the division. There was also a point where it was looking like Max Scherzer was going to be a shoe-in for the Cy Young award. But do things ever change fast in baseball. The Nationals have been surpassed by the New York Mets and Scherzer is starting to look like a pitcher that doesn’t deserve his contract. He got a whopping contract to come play in Washington, and given the numbers of the signing, he has only earned it throughout the first-half of the 2015 campaign. It looked like Scherzer couldn’t be touched, throwing in a no-hitter for good measure. Ever since then, though, Scherzer has been significantly regressing in the opposite direction.

He is looking more like inconsistent Max from Arizona rather than what we saw from his time in Detroit and the first-half of this year. It could be that the stench of the Nationals collapsing is rubbing off on him, or his arm is just simply getting tired. We have to take into consideration the amount of work that the Nats have induced on his arm. You can even go back and look at the amount of innings he pitched in Detroit. Scherzer is a workhorse, but even a workhorse can get tired.

The Nationals are looking to slow down the Cardinals tonight, who just spanked them by a score of 8-5. It was in fact the second night in a row the Cards beat the Nationals 8-5. I want to say that they have been hot lately, but let’s call it for what it is, they’ve been hot all season long. I have frequently featured the Cardinals in my articles, and for the most part, have been a profitable team to bet on. A pretty nice pitching matchup between Scherzer and Michael Wacha tonight. Let’s see how it unfolds in St. Louis, where the Cardinals look for a sweep of the series.

Washington Nationals vs. St. Louis Cardinals

Max Scherzer (11-11, 2.88 ERA) vs. Michael Wacha (15-4, 2.69 ERA)

**Wacha has been scratched.  Cardinals are now +115 to win, and we will take them as underdogs tonight.***

Most pitchers would love to have an ERA of 2.88. However, in the case of Scherzer, he wishes that number would be higher. He had a marvelous start to 2015 and given his contract, I believe he needs to have better than a record of 11-11 with a 2.88 ERA. You cannot compare Scherzer to your average run of the mill pitcher. He is supposed to be much better than that. And while we should say he is still better than average, is there going to come a time very shortly where Scherzer doesn’t regain his magic? The shoulder on him has to feel like a mess, and I think there is more to his struggles than just his pitching form.

On paper it looks like such an even pitching matchup. From what we have seen lately, Wacha has a sizable advantage. In his last three starts he went for an ERA of 0.96 compared to Scherzer’s 7.31 ERA. In five of his last ten starts he has allowed 4 or more runs. That isn’t a bad start here and there, it seems to be an instance of Scherzer getting tired. Wacha has allowed only 2 runs total in the Cardinals last three games. The line is too hard to pass up. Scherzer has been a mess, but the odds makers haven’t really adjusted yet. I am going to be on the Cardinals in this spot.