Cardinals vs. Nationals MLB Preview and Best Bet

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Cardinals vs. Nationals MLB Preview and Best Bet
Paul DeJong #11 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates hitting a grand slam. Mitchell Layton/Getty Images/AFP

It might seem early for two teams to be playing their final regular season series of 2021, but that’s the case for the St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals as they head into the middle contest of their 3-game set on Tuesday’s baseball betting schedule.

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Washington Nationals

Tuesday, April 20, 2021 – 07:05 PM EDT at Nationals Park

St. Louis took the opener on Monday night with a 12-5 win over Washington. The victory evened up the season series after the Nationals won two of three from the Cardinals in St. Louis last week. Just as Washington’s two triumphs a week ago came as small road ‘dogs, St. Louis was on a slight plus-moneyline in Monday’s decision.

Washington’s two wins a week ago were both ‘under’ winners and, after Monday’s matchup, the two St. Louis dubyas this season have sent ‘over’ bettors back to collect their winnings. The Nationals begin Game 2 with a slight lean to the ‘under’ this season at 6-8 O/U, while the Cardinals are trending in the opposite direction (9-6-1 O/U/P).

Cards Top NL in Long Ball Column with 25

It’s difficult to look at the ERAs for Tuesday’s starting pitchers and not immediately think another slugfest is in store. Patrick Corbin (0-2, 21.32) is set to deliver the game’s first pitch for the Nationals, Adam Wainwright (0-2, 7.11) his counterpart for the Cardinals. Top sportsbooks have sent Washington out favored around -125, with a 9-run total that is generally juiced a little to the ‘over.’

Paul DeJong broke out of his doldrums with two of the five home runs St. Louis hit on Monday. It was the second 2-HR game of the season for DeJong, who now has a 6-game hitting streak after sitting below .100 in the average column just a week ago. Paul Goldschmidt, Tommy Edman and rookie Justin Williams also went deep on Monday.

Wainwright has yet to post a quality start in his three appearances to date, though things have certainly improved since he was shelled in his season debut at Cincinnati where the Reds chased him two outs into the third having plated six runs. Last week at home against the Nationals, the veteran righthander also got knocked around with four runs – 3 earned – charged to his ledger across five innings. Josh Harrison and Ryan Zimmerman have been tough outs for Wainwright, the duo a combined 26-70 (.371) with four home runs.

Adam Wainwright #50 of the St. Louis Cardinals delivers a pitch. Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images/AFP

Nats Bringing Up Rear of NL with 5.03 ERA

Before he was taken to the woodshed on Monday when he was charged with 10 earned runs in a little more than four innings, Joe Ross had been Washington’s top hurler with nary a run allowed in his first two starts. The lineup isn’t doing nearly enough to support Nationals pitchers who now own the National League’s worst ERA.

Some of Corbin’s early struggles can likely be traced to him coming out of Spring Training sideways and being caught up in the Nationals’ virus issues. It doesn’t explain away everything about his first two starts, however, especially the total implosion against the Diamondbacks last Thursday when the 31-year-old surrendered 10 runs – 9 earned – in just two innings as -170 chalk on the MLB odds board. Tuesday marks the first time Corbin has faced the Cardinals since the 2019 NLCS when he made one start and one relief appearance against them (5.1 IP, 4 ER).

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Umpire Notes, DC Forecast and a Free Pick

Crew chief Larry Vanover will be behind the dish calling balls and strikes in Tuesday’s tilt, his fifth time to don the mask in 2021 with three of the previous four games falling short of the totals. Now in his 40th season as a professional umpire, Vanover’s last four games at the plate in Nationals Park have split the totals.

It should be a beautiful day in Washington DC, the 7,500 or so fans on hand watching the sun set during the first couple of innings with the thermometer in the low-70s at first pitch. The clear skies will be accompanied by a 10-12 mph breeze out of the south (out to left).

Wainwright and Corbin each figure to resolve their issues at some point and return closer to normal for their careers. It’s just tough to expect it to happen for one or both this evening. The ‘over’ is certainly an intriguing play, especially with the assistance of that southerly breeze, but my free MLB pick will instead be on St. Louis.

MLB pick: Cardinals +114 at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.