7:07 p.m. ET – Nationals (-115) at Blue Jays O/U: 8.5
The 8-11 Nationals take on the Blue Jays at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium on Tuesday in the opener of a two-game interleague series. Washington lost two of three to the Mets in New York over the weekend, including getting shut out on Sunday in a 4-0 loss. Toronto has won three of its last four-game, including taking two of three against the defending American League champion Rays in Tampa over the weekend.
About the Nationals
The Nationals have had difficulty getting anything going on offense this season, scoring 3.3 runs per game, the third-fewest in Major League Baseball. Washington has the second-fewest home runs in baseball with 14, which is very disappointing after acquiring power hitters Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber this offseason.
With Soto out of the lineup, shortstop Trea Turner has been asked to lead the offense, and with four home runs and a .274 batting average, he was doing a pretty good job before being forced to leave Sunday’s game with a left forearm contusion that has him questionable for Tuesday’s game.
If Turner is unable to go, the Nationals will need Bell and Schwarber to start stepping up. So far, neither has as the two are both batting below .200 with one home run each. They were brought on to primarily crush right-handed pitching and they will get another opportunity in the series opener. The pitching staff ranks 21st in baseball in team ERA with a 4.42 but without ace Max Scherzer’s hot start to the year they would have the second-highest team ERA in baseball.
About the Blue Jays
Toronto is looking to head to the playoffs yet again in 2021, but surprisingly has had a problem with consistently putting runs on the board. While on paper four runs a game ranks 19th in the league, which isn’t horrible, they have been all of that at the plate lately. In their last six games, the Blue Jays have been shut out three times and have pushed the meager total of just 15 runs across the plate in all of those contests combined.
- Third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is off to a great start to the season, batting .338 with four home runs and 12 RBI.
- Shortstop Bo Bichette also is off to a hot start, batting .250 with five home runs and 12 RBI.
While those two have been doing their part, the club’s offseason signings have not been producing. George Springer has yet to play a game for the Blue Jays this season after signing with them in the offseason, but Randal Grichuk has helped fill the void with a .292 batting average, four home runs, and 16 RBI in 72 at-bats.
Toronto’s pitching staff has been great to start the season, boasting a 3.04 ERA, which ranks fourth-best in all of baseball. But it is becoming increasingly obvious that the Blue Jays will need their bats to heat up before they start to make up ground in the American League East and it is only a matter of time before they do.
|Teams||Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|Nationals||-1½ (+135)||-115||O 8½ (+100)|
|Blue Jays||+1½ (-160)||-105||U 8½ (-120)|
The Pitching Matchup
Three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer will take the mound for Washington on Tuesday night. Scherzer has not skipped a beat this season, with a 1.80 ERA in four starts over 25 innings pitched. His last outing saw him get the no-decision after throwing six scoreless innings with nine strikeouts.
Right-hander Trent Thornton is getting the ball for Toronto in his second start of this young season. He is likely to be used as an “opener” out of the bullpen, as his last start saw him throw two scoreless innings against the Red Sox before being taken out prior to the third inning. Thornton has appeared in five games overall this season with a 1.86 ERA across 9.2 innings pitched.
What’s the Bet?
This game offers the perfect chance to take a parlay. While the Nationals have not scored a ton of runs this season, -115 with Max Scherzer on the mound against a lineup that is struggling is too much value to pass up. The Blue Jays have shown nothing over the past week to suggest that they can get to Scherzer and it is safe to anticipate a six or seven-inning outing from him tonight.
Thornton has been good this season, but even if he gives Toronto two shutout innings again, the bullpen will be asked to throw seven innings after a taxing series in Tampa Bay. Washington has enough quality hitters to get three runs on the board. With Scherzer on the mound, expect that to be enough. Take a parlay of the Nationals to win the game and for the final score to go below the Over/Under total of 8.5 runs being offered.