We took a tough one yesterday as the Houston/San Diego UNDER vanished in the ninth inning with five runs crossing the plate. It ended up being a great day for the Astros though, who won their sixth straight game to push their record to 14-7. Could the half-decade rebuilding project finally be coming to fruition? It’s a tough division for sure, so I’m not quite ready to proclaim the ‘Stros playoff-bound, but it is nice to see the long-suffering franchise enjoying a little early season success.
Today’s a lighter load in MLB with only eight games, a blend of get-away day games and four-game series openers. Let’s see if we can pluck a good pick off the board and start up a much-needed winning streak.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Washington Nationals -105 at New York Mets -105 (Total: 6.5)
Stephen Strasburg (1-2, 4.88 ERA) vs. Jacob deGrom (2-2, 2.96 ERA)
There may not be two more polar opposite starts relative to expectations anywhere in Major League Baseball. The Mets, who had some potential, were largely picked third or fourth in the division. Instead, they are off the best start in the National League at 15-7. Meanwhile, everyone, including a loud Bryce Harper, was picking the Nationals to win the division and even the World Series. Instead, they have floundered to a 9-13 start.
However, there are some reasons for confidence in the Nation’s capital after two straight wins a mini-offensive explosion, scoring 13 runs in back-to-back games. Strasburg could use the run support tonight. Not that he has pitched AWFUL this season (though, again, back to the ‘real’ vs. ‘expectations’ angle) but he hasn’t gotten a ton of support either – the Nats have scored just 3.5 runs in games he has pitched. That makes it tough to win when your ERA is hovering near five. Yes, it is a small sample size, and I expect Stras will be back around 3 when it is all said and done, but much like the bulk of his teammates, it’s been a disappointing April.
Meanwhile, the Mets will counter with Jacob deGrom, and it is a good thing he’s been sharp because the Mets bats are finally showing some signs of cooling off. They’ve lost four of five games and with an eight-run exception, have only scored 2.8 runs per game. It makes sense they’d regress a bit without Wright and d’Arnaud on the DL. I think tonight is the night Strasburg finally delivers.
The Nats are too good to stay this far down, and the Mets are still a little over their heads. Today is a nice ‘back to normal’ set up, and it allows for the Nats and Strasburg at a pretty good price. The Nats are 36-15 in their last 51 games in New York, meaning they’ve been at home there for the past four or five years.