We notched another baseball winner last night with the Nationals bats staying red-hot and easily dispatching the Colorado Rockies 11-4. The Nats are now 9-1 in their last ten games and Bryce Harper has moved to EVEN MONEY odds to win the MVP with his blistering .432/7/22 slash line and .824 slugging percentage. It is still, obviously, very early, but through the first month of the season it is hard to say the Nats aren’t the best team in the National League. I’m not forgetting the defending champion Cubbies. Obviously, they are still in the mix, but with the top of the Nats rotation, the emergence of Trea Turner and the return to MVP form for Bryce Harper, that is one scary team in the Nation’s Capital.
Elsewhere, the Pirates won a thriller over the Cubbies, the Padres dealt the Diamondbacks just their third home loss of the season (10-3), the Brewers capped off a ridiculously dominating sweep of the Reds, the Giants got a much-needed tenth-inning walk-off over the Dodgers, and the Phillies extended the longest current NL win streak to five games with another win over the Marlins to get back over .500.
Today is a combo get-away/new series day. The highlights on the schedule include a pair of matinees; the Phillies looking for a sixth straight win with Jeremy Helickson taking his 3-0 record and 1.86 ERA to the mound and the R.A. Dickey facing Noah Syndergaard in a matchup of a pair of pitchers traded for each other in 2012.
Today’s MLB Pick:
Washington Nationals -115 at Colorado Rockies +105 (Total: 11.5)
Gio Gonzalez (2-0, 1.35 ERA) vs. Antonio Senzatela (3-0, 2.08 ERA)
Rookie Antonio Senzatela has been splendid this season, but things get REAL today with a visit from the hottest team in baseball bringing their scorching offense to the mile-high ballpark. He has a perfect record and an ERA right at two, but Bryce Harper and company haven’t been held down by many pitchers this season. The Nats have tallied a total of 26 runs in the first two games of the series and will be looking for more today.
Opposing Senzatela is the veteran Gio Gonzalez who is off to an excellent start to the season – looking more like the Cy Young candidate of three and four years ago than the guy who was a middle-of-the-pack guy the last two seasons. If he can be even close to this good the rest of 2017, the Nats become the favorite to win the pennant. So far, he has been the best non-#1/#2 starter in the league.
I’m going to have some faith in the 22-year old rookie today. I know he is facing a scorching lineup, but he is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his two home starts at Coors, so he has handled the thin air just fine so far. His blistering 97-mph slider will be the nastiest stuff the Nationals have faced this week. Likewise, Gio has been pretty good against the Rox, posting a 3.86 ERA in his career against Colorado.
These teams have combined for a staggering 42 runs in two games, but that can’t continue forever. Perhaps getaway day will speed up the proceedings this afternoon and we will get the first decently pitched game of the series.
Either way, 11.5 is a pretty beefy total. Even a festive 6-5 or 7-4 score tucks safely under the number.
Today’s MLB Pick: RUN TOTAL UNDER 11.5