Both the Phillies and Nationals lost their season-opening series, but they'll now meet up with a chance to make it right. Are we backing the home or road team with our MLB picks in the series opener tonight?
Despite being on the road here, the Nationals are pretty large favorites, getting priced out as high as -150 to get the win this evening. If you think Jerome Williams and the Phillies will find a way, you would be handsomely rewarded should that come true, with MLB Odds makers listing the home team at right around +140.
A total of seven runs can be found on the board right now, which is actually a little lower than we expected, though Gio Gonzalez is about as good of a number four starter as you're going to find in baseball.
Philadelphia Phillies (Williams)
The Phillies dropped two of three at home against the Red Sox to kick off their 2015 season. They were in a hole early in the series finale, as Chase Buchanan struggled to find any kind of groove and eventually was chased out of the game after only three innings of work.
Buchanan ended up allowing seven hits and six earned runs over three innings, with four walks against only one strikeout. He was doing just fine through the first two frames, but then imploded in the third and put Philadelphia in a big hole that they couldn't climb out of. Chase Utley provided the only source of offense for the Phillies in the 6-2 defeat.
Jerome Williams will toe the rubber for Philadelphia here on Friday night, with hopes of kicking off his 2015 campaign on the right foot. Williams didn't have a very good 2014, and that's putting it nicely, as he went 6-7 with a 4.77 ERA in 37 starts, while sporting a forgettable 82:36 K:BB ratio over 115 total innings. He owned a 5.06 ERA at home last season, so we're not exactly expecting much from the right-hander in this spot.
Washington Nationals (Gonzalez)
It was the Matt Harvey show in yesterday's series finale in the nation's capital, as he stifled the Washington bats. Stephen Strasburg, meanwhile, was tagged pretty hard, surrendering nine hits and six runs (three earned) while striking out five and walking three. It was not a good showing from the hard-throwing righty, needless to say.
But, the story of the day was Harvey, who mowed down the Nationals, going six scoreless innings. It wasn't until the bullpen took over that Washington was able to get anything going offensively. It was Michael Taylor that brought home two of the three runs with a double, while Ian Desmond had two doubles and two runs scored in the loss.
Now, after Max Scherzer, Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg have toed the rubber, it's time for Gio Gonzalez to have his shot. Gonzalez is one of the best number four pitchers in the MLB - though he went 10-10 overall, he posted a highly respectable 3.57 ERA and had 162 strikeouts over 158.2 innings pitched. He had a 3.91 ERA in four meetings with Philadelphia in 2014.
Though the Nationals are still a little banged up when it comes to their batting order, we see a clear advantage in tonight's pitching matchup, and they should be able to start off this series with a win.
Since we're confident and don't want to lay -150 on a straight moneyline wager, we are going to back Washington on the run-line in hopes that they'll get after Williams on their way to a comfortable victory. We have a lot more faith in Gonzalez to get the job done on the mound.
So, with your MLB picks, consider backing the Nationals to get back to .500 on the season, starting off this road trip with a bang in the process.
MLB Pick: Washington Nationals -1.5 (+113) at Pinnacle