Nationals vs. Padres MLB Pick – August 20th

It was a big day in baseball yesterday. The headlines were the Dodgers taking their second straight over the Tigers to improve their record setting pace and move to 87-34. But bigger than their win was the “rich get richer” blockbuster move of acquiring Curtis Granderson from the Mets and immediately optioning Joc Pederson to AAA. Just two years ago, Pederson was the toast of the league; All Star and Home Run Derby participant, but in 2017, especially post-All Star Break, things have been brutal at the dish for the talented youngster. Well, problem solved! At least from a 2017 postseason standpoint, as the Dodgers slot in an established veteran with postseason experience. Long term? Pederson is still likely a key fixture in the Dodgers future. But even if it DOESN’T work out, the club showed aggressively that they are all about winning in the NOW.

Elsewhere, the Cubs won again to keep their two-game lead over the Brewers and the Cardinals fell to the Pirates, who snapped a massive losing streak (and added to my personal season-long dry spell) and fell to 2 ½ behind the reigning champs. Perhaps more importantly, Milwaukee moved to just 3 ½ back of Arizona for the final wild-card spot.

Let’s see if we can salvage the final day of a winless week and put a tough stretch in the rear view mirror.

Today’s MLB Pick:

Washington Nationals -106 at San Diego Padres -104 (Total: 7.5)
Gio Gonzalez (11-5, 2.49 ERA) vs. Dinelson Lamet (7-4, 4.78 ERA)

Am I missing something here? I get a pitcher with an ERA in the mid-twos, and one of the best offenses in baseball against a pitcher with an ERA approaching five and one of the worst teams in all of baseball – and I can get them a near even money??

Yes, please.

Sure, the Nats are resting Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper is out of the lineup, but it isn’t like the cupboard is bare. Howie Kendrick is an able fill-in at second, and they still have Gio on the mound. In his last outing, a Cameron Maybin infield single broke up a no-hit bid in the sixth inning. Gonzalez left shortly after without allowing a run. The Nats have won four straight games with him on the mound and he is holding batters to a slim .205 batting average this season.

Dinelson Lamet has been excellent lately – that is the reason for the (in my opinion) overly slim line. The Padres have won four of his last five games and he hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of the five outings. However, those outings came against Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati – three teams below .500, and he has rarely gone the past ( or into) the sixth inning, leaving the bullpen to chance the fates.

San Diego is a surprising five game over .500 at home, but the Nats are a stellar 38-23 on the road. San Diego is worst in the NL with a -150 run differential and the Nats are second best at +129.

There is a lot of value on the Washington side today.



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