Tonight MLB fans will witness the battle of last place teams, as the “Least from the East’ the Washington Nationals visit the “Worst in the West” San Diego Padres. Game time is 8:35 PM ET from Petco Park.

John LannanA pair of lefthanders will square off tonight with John Lannan (3-5, 3.78) taking the hill for the Nationals while the Padres will counter with Clayton Richard (2-7, 4.20), who MLB odds boards opened as -120 favorite with the total at 6.5. The Padres are 1-11 in Richard’s last 12 starts.

The teams have split the first two games of the series. San Diego won on Thursday night 7-3 (in line with SRB handicapper Joe Freda's pick) with Washington bouncing back for a tight 2-1 victory last night. Winning pitcher Jason Marquis (7-2) worked the first six innings and allowed just one run and three hits. The blazing-hot Michael Morse hit a two-run homer in the second off losing pitcher Mat Latos giving Morse his 10th home run of the season and eighth in 18 games.

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Besides occupying the basement in their respective divisions, Washington and San Diego share some other striking similarities. Their overall records are close; The Padres (29-36) are a half-game ahead of the Nationals (28-36). San Diego has a home record of 14-24 while Washington is 14-24 on the road.

Offensively the two teams are either last or next to last in several categories. The Padres are 30th in runs (223) and in runs per game (3.43). They’re next to last in home runs (36) and 28th in hitting (.243). The Nationals are last in batting (.230), 13th in the NL in runs scored (241) and 23rd in the majors in runs per game (3.77). The one glaring advantage for San Diego is its bullpen which leads in ERA (2.55), wins (12) and saves (18).

The Padres have one starting pitcher with a winning record and that’s Aaron Harang at 7-2. But Latos (4-7), Dustin Moseley (2-6), Tim Stauffer (2-4) and Richard, (2-7) are a combined 10-24. The Nationals have posted similar numbers. Marquis is 7-2 but the other four starters in the rotation have cumulative record of 12-23.

Who has the edge?

These teams have met on five previous occasions with San Diego holding a 3-2 advantage. MLB bettors whould note that three of the games have gone ‘under’ with a total of 28 runs scored.

This will be the second time in just over two weeks that Lannan and Richard have met. On May 27, Lannan and the Nationals came away with a 2-1 victory although neither starter had a decision. Lannan threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings allowing just two hits while Richard matched up nearly pitch-for-pitch going seven innings and allowing one run and three hits. Lannan has a career record of 1-2 vs. San Diego. Richard is 1-1 against Washington which is 4-1 in its last five games against lefties.

The Nationals are 7-3 to the low side in their last ten games overall and 6-1 to the ‘under’ in their last seven road games against lefthanders. San Diego is hitting .291 against lefties in their last 10 games compared to Washington’s.228 average vs. southpaws.

The San Diego weather forecast is calling for mostly cloudy skies with a slight chance of showers and temperatures in the 50’s.

Harvey’s Take: It’s tough to go against Lannan in this spot. He’s allowed one run in his last 20 innings (0.45) and has given up just 10 hits. Richard was 14-9 in 2010 and even when he’s pitched well he can’t seem to get a win (0-2, 2.45 last three starts). This should be another low scoring game and I might make a small play there. But the bulk of my investment tonight will be on Lannan.