The Nationals offense has struggled and will now be without Juan Soto. Will they be able to find success offensively against the Cardinals and help get Max Scherzer a win? Find out below where we’ll break this game down and provide a free pick to place at online sportsbooks.
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Washington Nationals
Wednesday, April 21, 2021 – 04:05 PM EDT at Nationals Park
- Cardinals: Carlos Martinez (0-3, 7.80 ERA)
- Nationals: Max Scherzer (0-2, 2.37 ERA)
The Nationals are going to be without their slugger in Juan Soto for a couple weeks. That’s going to hurt this Nationals lineup as it’s already struggled to start the season. But after defeating the Cardinals yesterday, they’ve got some momentum moving forward with Max Scherzer taking the hill.
Scherzer struggled in his opening start against the Braves, allowing four runs on five hits in six innings of work. He still stuck out nine and walked none but it was a game that left you puzzled as Scherzer allowed four solo home runs. Since then, he’s allowed one earned run in 13 innings and has allowed just five hits with 15 strikeouts and three walks. He’s not going to be a heavy ground ball pitcher but he’s going to rack up strikeouts and that’s something that he hasn’t missed a beat on this season.
The Cardinals lineup has been odd this season against righties. The top of the order limits strikeouts and doesn’t walk while the bottom of the order is walking at a high rate against righties but also striking out at a ridiculous pace. This lineup has just one player that has a high wOBA against righties and that’s Dylan Carlson, who has a .362 wOBA and a .244 ISO while striking out 26.5 percent of the time and walking 12.2 percent of the time.
On the other hand, Carlos Martinez will get the start for the Cardinals for the fourth time. He’s allowed 13 earned runs in 15 innings pitched along with 17 hits and four walks with just 10 strikeouts. Martinez has allowed two home runs and is getting 50 percent of grounders. Most of the damage this season is coming from the right side, where he’s allowing a wOBA of .381 and an ISO of .273.
The Nationals have not been the greatest offense but going up and down that lineup, it’s a capable lineup of veterans that can score runs against poor pitching. Dating back to last year, Martinez has an XFIP of .514 and a strikeout percentage of just 15.6 percent.
He allowed righties to have a wOBA of .428 and an ISO of .329. Lefties have had success as well, having a wOBA of .369 against Martinez. He’s also only struck out lefties 12.3 percent of the time. Such numbers cannot be ignored for our sports betting.
Andrew Stevenson will now be the batter at the top of the order. The lefty has major success against righties dating back to last year with a wOBA of .431. Josh Harrison has been hot at the plate and he’ll have Trea Turner behind him who has a solid wOBA of .363 with limited strikeouts.
We’ve got two completely different pitchers on the mound. Martinez has been getting rocked since last year while Max Scherzer has become one of the top five best pitchers in the game. I like Scherzer to hold it down and believe the Nationals offense can figure Martinez out and score some runs against him. Give me -0.5 in the first five innings for the Nationals for my MLB picks.
*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.