The Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to pick up their first series win of the season today, as they play host to the Washington Nationals in game 4 of a 4-game series. The Pirates have won 3 of their last 4 games and they would love to send Washington home with another loss today as they wrap up their first homestand of the season. After scoring just 2 runs in their first 2 games combined, the Pirates have scored 6 or more runs in 4 of their last 6 games, and every time that they have hit the baseball well, they have won the game.
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) April 17, 2022
For Washington, the Nationals are starting to swing a heavier bat recently as well, but their biggest issues are on the mound, as their team ERA of nearly 5 and a half runs is dead last in the National League, and only the Texas Rangers give up more runs per game in all of baseball than the Nationals do. Washington has mashers at the dish like Juan Soto and Nelson Cruz, but they have to find ways to get guys out if they want to contend in the NL East Division this season.
The current betting line has the Nationals as small road favorites at (-130). The starting pitching matchup features a pair of veterans in Washington’s Patrick Corbin and Pittsburgh’s Jose Quintana. The game total is sitting at 8 runs, with first pitch scheduled for 10:35 AM PST from PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
Washington Nationals (4-6)
If the Washington Nationals are going to be able to win enough games to stay in contention in the NL East Division this season, they are going to have to figure things out in a hurry. Most people expected this to be another rebuilding year in the nation’s capital, but when the Nats went out and signed slugger Nelson Cruz as a free agent, a clear rental with little long-term value, many wondered if that would trigger more aggressive moves later in the season. But with how poorly Washington has played, I would think that Cruz gets moved sooner rather than later and that before the trade deadline comes and goes, Washington will go ahead and hit that reset button.
This team is painfully weak when it comes to pitching, which had to be expected when your rotation features guys like Erick Fedde, Josh Rogers, and Josiah Gray, but they should be decent when it comes to hitting the baseball, and so far, that just hasn’t been the case. Washington is 24th in MLB in OPS, and outside of Juan Soto, who is doing his typical Juan Soto stuff, the rest of this lineup is struggling.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 17, 2022
Cruz is hitting .189 with just 1 long ball, Alcides Escobar was hitting .083 before a 2-hit game yesterday boosted his average all of the way up to a still dreadfully bad .143, and while both of those veterans need to figure things out in a hurry, I am not sure there is a hitter in the game off to a worse start than Victor Robles.
It wasn’t all that long ago that Robles was seen as a budding superstar and future face of the franchise in Washington, but he hasn’t lived up to that hype in the last couple of years, and this year he was been a joke. On the season Robles is hitting .000. Yep, the tiple doughnut. In 18 at-bats, Robles has yet to collect his first hit of the season, and even hitting in the 9- hole for Washington, it is hard to have any type of solid consistent run production when you have an automatic out in the lineup.
When the Washington Nationals won the World Series back in 2019, they did so powered by a 3-headed monster at the top of their starting rotation. Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin carried the Nats to the franchise’s first-ever championship, and while Mad Max and Strasburg got a lot more credit than Corbin did at the time, Corbin more than held his own as a legit ace.
In 2019, Corbin finished 11th in the Cy Young Award voting with 14 wins, a 3.24 ERA, and 238 Ks. But since that season, Washington has started over as Max is in New York after a brief stop in LA, and Strasburg just can’t stay healthy.
Corbin? He has never been the same as he clearly preferred to be a behind-the-scenes guy pitching behind a couple of studs, than being the guy in the limelight at the top of the rotation. He was bad in 2020, worse in 2021, and has been terrible so far in 2022. His Ks are down, his walks are up, and the guy can’t stop getting lit up. In his 2 starts this season, he has lasted just 6.2 innings and has gotten hammered for a whopping 8 earned runs, on 14 hits, and 5 walks. Washington lost both games with a combined score of 21-5. Ouch.
Today’s Starting Pitching Matchup
Pittsburgh Pirates (4-4)
The Pittsburgh Pirates finally caught a rare break earlier this season when young budding superstar Ke’Bryan Hayes went down with what appeared to be a nasty injury, that turned out to be minor, dodging a huge bullet. The Pirates just signed Hayes to the biggest contract in franchise history, and when he went down, it felt like yet another kick them while they are down moment for the Pirates. But that ended up not being the case, and with Hayes healthy, he has shown Pirate’s fans that he was worth every penny of that monster contract, as he leads the team in batting average, hits, and on-base percentage.
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) April 17, 2022
Hayes is the centerpiece of Pittsburgh’s rebuild and it is good to see him staying healthy and playing well. While I am sure that the Pirates aren’t a team that is going to contend for the postseason this year, this is a franchise that is trying to win, which is more than they could say in the last couple of years when they had been shamelessly tanking.
The Pirates had been using Hayes in the middle of the lineup, hitting 3rd, but yesterday they moved him up to the leadoff spot, and he quickly showed that he has what it takes to hit atop the Pirate’s lineup, picking up 2 hits and scoring a run in the Pirates 6-4 victory. I love seeing Hayes hitting leadoff and hope that the Pirates continue to lean on him this season, as they are just a better team when he is on the field.
After spending his entire career in Chicago, split between the North Side and the South Side, with stops with both the Cubs and White Sox, Jose Quintana has turned into an arm for hire in the last couple of seasons. Last year, he started for the Angels and wasn’t very good for LA, posting by far the highest ERA of his long career with a 6.75 slash. He was traded late in the season to give the Giants some bullpen depth and pitched decently for the G-Men down the stretch, with an ERA of 4.66 in 5 relief appearances.
This year, Quintana will play for his 4th team in 3 years, as he gets another shot to start as part of the Pirates rotation. He looked great in his first outing of the year, working 5 and a third innings against the Cubs, and allowing just a single earned run.
He was a hard-luck loser in that one, as the Pirates couldn’t score him any runs in support, but something tells me that won’t end up being the case today, with Patrick Corbin getting the nod for the Nats. Quintana isn’t much more than an innings eater at this point in his career, but he generally pitches well enough to give his team a shot to win games, and at the end of the day, that is what it is all about.
Washington Nationals vs Pittsburgh Pirates Betting Odds And Team Statistics
The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:
|Teams||Money line||Total||Run Line|
|Washington Nationals||(-130)||Over 8 (-110)||-1.5 (+161)|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||(+110)||Under 8 (-110)||+1.5 (-141)|
|Team Data||Washington Nationals||Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Runs Per Game||4.10||4.37|
|Runs Against Per Game||5.48||4.89|
|Hits Per Game||7.70||9.13|
|K’s Per Game||8.30||8.88|
Washington Nationals vs Pittsburgh Pirates Prediction:
This line opened up with the Nationals laying (-150) in what was a comically bad line. The early betting sharps saw that number and hammered on the Pirates, shifting it 20 points towards the home team. The sharps are always looking for high-value home dogs, and the Pirates were clearly the side to be on at that opening price. Now we find ourselves in a spot that I like to call right side, wrong price.
Washington Nationals vs Pittsburgh Pirates Betting Trends:
- The total has gone OVER in 4 of Washington’s last 6 games
- Washington is 5-14 SU in their last 19 games
- Washington is 2-4 SU in their last 6 games against Pittsburgh
- The total has gone OVER in 5 of Washington’s last 7 games on the road
- Washington is 5-11 SU in their last 16 games against an opponent in the National League
- Pittsburgh is 4-2 SU in their last 6 games
- Pittsburgh is 4-2 SU in their last 6 games when playing at home against Washington
- Pittsburgh is 4-2 SU in their last 6 games against an opponent in the National League
- The total has gone OVER in 6 of Pittsburgh’s last 9 games against an opponent in the National League East Division
- The total has gone UNDER in 12 of Pittsburgh’s last 15 games played on a Sunday when at home
The Pirates are still the side to be on, as Patrick Corbin shouldn’t be favored against anybody right now, let alone on the road, but had we bet this game last night, we would have gotten a much better number. A wise man once said don’t cry over spilled milk, and while I certainly would rather have gotten my action in last night with the extra juice, that doesn’t change the fact that the Pirates still show ample value at the current odds.
This feels like one of those games where it is going to take at least 6 or 7 runs to win, and when I see that the winning team in this series has scored an average of over 7 runs per game, that shouldn’t surprise anybody. I expect more of the same today in the series finale, as I don’t trust Patrick Corbin or Jose Quintana. Last season, fading Corbin was basically free money, as the public keyed in on his name recognition from his run to the world title in 2019, and failed to acknowledge the fact that he has been a dumpster can fire ever since.
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) April 17, 2022
Even against a bad team like Pittsburgh, positioning yourself on the other side of Patrick Corbin makes sense. Going back to 2020, the Nationals are a dismal 15-29 when Corbin starts, and that is far too much consistent losing not to love a play on the other side any time that he is favored in a game. The fact that it is a road game, against a team that has won 4 of their last 6 games, is just the cherry on top. I love me some home dogs and that is where I will take my stand in this one, with a play on the Pirates getting (+110) today from PNC Park!