The Washington Nationals are finally starting to turn things around after a very slow start. The Nationals have won seven of their last eight games and head to San Diego tonight for game one of a three-game series with the Padres. The Padres did manage to win their last series by taking two out of three from the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, they find themselves in last place in the NL West Division entering play tonight.
Starting tonight for the Nationals is ace Steven Strasburg (3-3 3.47 ERA). For the Padres, they will start Tyson Ross (2-2 3.28 ERA). The Nationals are big -170 road favorites tonight. The game total over-under is set at seven runs. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM PST from Petco Park in San Diego.
Steven Strasburg was born and raised in San Diego and played his college ball at San Diego State. It will be a welcomed homecoming for the home-grown star today in San Diego. The Padres haven’t been a competitive team in many years, and it wouldn’t shock me to see lots of fans cheering for Strasburg and not the Padres. I expect Strasburg to enjoy his home crowd as he has historically pitched very well in San Diego, at all levels of baseball.
Strasburg has had a bit of a slow start to his season. He is just 3-3 and has had a couple of bad starts. But I think his struggles have been a bit overblown in the media. Strasburg has four starts this year where he has gone at least six innings and gave up two earned runs or less. And he has fifty-four strikeouts in forty-six and two-thirds of an inning. Most pitchers would kill for a down year like that. So, while the talking heads might tell you that Strasburg is having a down year, I am not sure I am ready to buy that hype.
Starting for the Padres tonight is Tyson Ross. Ross has had an OK start to his season. He is 2-2 with a 3.28 ERA in six starts. The Padres are 4-2 in games in which Ross starts, and that is pretty impressive considering the fact that San Diego has struggled badly to win games this year. Ross has struggled some this season walking guys. Ross has given out three free passes in four different starts this season. It is amazing that he has as good of a record as he does while allowing all those extra runners on base.
It is Monday. The MLB schedule is a very short one. Only seven games are slated for today. Most of my daily readers know that I love taking underdogs and if I do take a favorite, it usually is a small one. But with such limited options today, I have to start looking for value backing a bigger favorite than I usually like. In this game, the Nationals are clearly the team to back.
They are playing very well at the moment and look like they might finally be playing the brand of baseball that most expected them to this season. This roster has playoff team written all over it. Even with their slow start, I still expect this team to be in the running for the National League Division title all year long.
I did take a peek at the run line and at -110 I considered it. But in the end, I only looked at the run line because the game juice was so high, not because it was the bet with the most value, so I decided to stay off of it. If the only reason you are taking a run line in a game is because you don’t want to pay all the juice on the money line, you should probably stay off of it.
Tyson Ross is a solid arm, and the Padres do a decent job of keeping games low scoring in pitcher-friendly Petco Park. The last thing you want to do is turn a winning bet into a loser just to save an extra sixty cents in juice. So, I will stay away from the run line and lay a little more wood than I normally would like and back the Nationals on the road.
I expect Strasburg to pitch well if not dominate a weak hitting Padres lineup and the Nats should find enough offense to get the job done tonight on the road. Give me the Washington Nationals -170 tonight in San Diego!