Normally when assigned a specific matchup to look into the MLB betting odds from sportsbooks, I will put the information regarding the two starting pitchers lower into the article.
However, a Johnny Cueto vs. Max Scherzer pitching confrontation does not come up every week and I will change that up for today, putting these two hurlers front and center as they deserve and maneuver the other information around.
The betting odds are not suggesting a nail-biter, but they did not have Cincinnati winning last night for sports picks either and if you had Washington for MLB picks you understand.
Cueto vs. Scherzer
While rumors continue to swirl about Cueto (5-5, 2.94 ERA) being traded by Cincinnati, a club that needs to rebuild, he's performed at his expected level allowing well under a hit an inning with a 5-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio and his WHIP ranks third in the big leagues at 0.92. The Reds have won nine of his 16 starts as the right-hander is an expert at hiding the ball and creating deception with his mid-90's fastball and assorted breaking pitches. At 29, any team that expects to be a contender for three-five years should consider offering Cincinnati a strong package for this ace.
In Max Scherzer's (9-6, 1.82) last four starts he's 3-1 with a 1.05 ERA, giving up 11 hits and one walk in 34 1/3 innings. The loss came in the bottom of the ninth against Atlanta in a 1-1 contest. The righty has been in complete control with 42 punch-outs in 34 1/3 innings and has a WHIP that seems almost unfathomable at 0.78. Scherzer has all the pitches and has shown he can spot them virtually anywhere he wants when he needs, but here is another amazing number. Teams are batting a mere .181 against him but those in the heart of the batting order, spots 3-6, are at an eye-opening .151 average, with an on-base percentage of .167. Wow!
Cincinnati banged out 10 hits last night in the 3-2 victory over Washington, getting help from an unlikely source in shortstop Eugenio Suarez, who was called up from Triple-A to sub for an injured Zack Cosart. Suarez was 3 for 4 and hit the tie-breaking home run in the eighth inning to end the Reds three-game losing streak and get the road trip off to a good start.
To beat Scherzer, Reds hitter will have to be patient yet aggressive and when they have a pitch to swing at, do their best to square it up and hope it works. At least their pitcher can keep them in the contest and possibly like last night they can scratch out a run late for a victory, from Suarez, Joey Votto, Todd Frazier or someone.
News on the Nationals
It seems the minute any potential period of good health will finally aid Washington, they are struck again. Last night two productive Nationals players were taken out of the game, with CF Denard Span leaving in the third inning with back spasms and SS Yunel Escobar exiting in the fifth with hamstring tightness.
This does not sound promising for tonight for manager Matt Williams to pencil the duo into the lineup, leaving Bryce Harper and a batch of "other guys" to try and attempt defeat Cueto, who is 6-3 with a 4.06 ERA in 10 career starts against the Nationals. Little doubt many baseball handicappers will be looking at the total for their sports picks the way this is setting up.
Betting Odds and Outcome
The MLB odds have Washington as -150 favorites with a total Ov6 (-125), though Heritagesports has better numbers on both if you prefer the favorite and Over. A possibly further depleted Nationals lineup has to be considered, nonetheless, Scherzer is 38-9 as a favorite of -150 or more the last three seasons (Team's Record) and the Reds are 6-22 in road games after scoring and allowing three runs or less since last season.
Free Pick - Washington -150 at Heritage