Almost a month into the 2017 season, the Washington Nationals have emerged as one of the top earners on the circuit by besting the MLB odds for nearly 8 units of profit.
As April draws to a close at major league parks, there's no question which team ranks as the best in the young 2017 season and which one is the hottest. In fact, they're one and the same with the Washington Nationals taking both honors.
Dusty Baker's squad owns the best record in the bigs and returns home following a huge 9-1 road trip that started with sweeps in Atlanta and New York, Max Scherzer and the Nats finishing off the broom job of the Mets on Sunday. The Nationals wrapped the journey up by taking three of four in Colorado and scoring 42 runs in the final three games.
Many will point to the offense in the series against the Rockies as being inflated by Coors Field, but the fact remains this is a deadly lineup -- perhaps the best 1-5 bats in the majors -- that is averaging 6.32 RPG. It all revolves around the hub of the order, Bryce Harper in the 3-hole, with Adam Eaton and Trea Turner in front of him and Ryan Zimmerman plus Daniel Murphy just behind.
Washington's only weak link appears to be the bullpen, which ranks last in the NL with a 6.18 ERA. This was something we talked about in our NL East preview, and it wouldn't be surprising to see the Nationals start making inquiries with the White Sox regarding David Robertson or Alex Colome of Tampa Bay.
Nats & Mets Collide In Best/Worst Weekend Set
There's also very little doubt who the coldest teams are as we approach May. Taking the title in the AL are the Kansas City Royals who come home from a winless road trip to start a long homestand against the Minnesota Twins. Friday's series opener is part of our free MLB picks, and we like the Royals to end their plummet that has taken them to the AL Central basement.
Also taking up residence in a division cellar are the New York Mets. Six consecutive losses have sent Terry Collins' crew into last in the NL East, and the Mets now have to face the red-hot Nats to begin a 7-game road trip. 5Dimes has Washington chalked at -170 for Game 1 on Friday, this series marking the eighth of 10-consecutive division opponents New York opens the season with.May Day! May Day! Big Series Abound To Begin 2nd Month
Next month begins with a bang as huge series and rivalries fill the first week of May. One that will certainly receive a lot of hype is the matchup at Fenway Park were the Red Sox host the Orioles in their first meeting since a very heated series at Camden Yards a weekend ago. Game 2 of this 4-game series is expected to feature Chris Sale on the hill for Boston against Baltimore's Chris Tillman, who has missed the first 4+ weeks of the season with a shoulder injury. Look for Sale and the Sox to be riding a big money line on the MLB odds for that one.
While the Red Sox and O's will be clashing for a third time, the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros are about to face off for the first time. The AL West rivals begin a 4-game series in Houston on Monday, and the Rangers should catch a break by not having to face Astros ace Dallas Keuchel in the set. Texas has won 12 of the last 18 games at Minute Maid Park.