Both Miami & Washington are returning back to the good graces of those sports picks and MLB baseball handicappers. Now each team has to build on what they have accomplished.
Last night Washington’s resurgence continued as they scored four times in the bottom of the eighth inning on the way to a 6-4 victory of Miami. Will the Nationals continue to defeat the MLB Odds or can the underdog Marlins get back on the winning track? Here is a look at tonight’s matchup.
Miami Seeks to Avoid a Three-Game Losing Streak
The ebb and flow of a baseball season can be a tumultuous ride and after a terrible start, Miami went on a 9-1 tear to reach .500, but have lost two straight to ball back to 12-14 (-4.3 units). What energized the Marlins was their complete pitching staff as over those 10 games they conceded 18 total runs. In losing their past two games and failing to defeat the betting odds they have allowed a total of 12 runs.
No team can continue a pace of 1.8 runs per game given up, but you have to take care of opportunities and Miami had their sixth blown save in eight chances which ties them with Arizona for the worst percentage in the National League at 25 percent.
Second baseman Dee Gordon has done his part to help his new team with a blistering .433 batting and been able to use blazing speed to create a dozen stolen bases. Adeiny Hechavarria (.320 BA) and Marcell Oduna (.314 BA, .384 OBP) have also done their part. Gianacarlo Stanton after a slow start is coming around and is off roughly 10 percent on all key areas off his career norms and will need to be more a factor.
Washington Coming Along
With last night’s win, the Nationals have moved into second place in the National League East and are almost .500 at 13-14 (-4.4). As we wondered last week, the impetus for this 6-1 surge was overcoming a 9-1 deficit in Atlanta and winning 13-12. This seemed to calm everyone down and the belief factor returned.
The offense continues to be spotty in averaging 4.1 runs per game and if they keep Yunell Escobar hot with .311 batting average (.361 OBP), the potential for runs can rise. However, that means the power guys have to come through and Bryce Harper has to do more than bat .256 (.412 OBP) and the same goes for Ryan Zimmerman (.217 BA) and Jayson Werth (.176 BA).
Pitching Matchup – Latos vs. Strasburg
Both pitchers continue to look very ordinary as they approach this contest, not missing many bats. Mat Latos (0-3, 6.86 ERA) has opposing teams lacing his pitch attempts to a .326 batting average and toss in nine walks in 21 innings and his WHIP is monstrous 1.76. The right-hander does deserves some credit because it is evident he’s not 100 percent healthy and his fastball and slider do not have their usual movement. Including a game earlier this season, Latos is 3-2 with a 2.68 ERA against Washington in eight starts and is 7-1 UNDER.
Stephen Strasburg (2-2, 4.60) is pretty much the same pitcher, just with more strikeouts and fewer walks per nine innings. Opponents are batting .309 versus the former pitcher everyone wanted. It has been awhile since the words - Strasburg and dominating - have used in the same sentence, as his fastball is no longer electric and his once overwhelming curveball misses the mark more often and is just as likely to be hit or swung and missed against. He is 9-6 against the Marlins with a 3.58 ERA.
Odds and Outcome
Sportsbooks like GTBets.eu originally has Washington as -165 home favorite and they have been bumped up to -175 with a total of 7. Though Washington does not have a great history against Latos, this appears a rather good opportunity to knock him around, plus the Marlins mental state after such a loss is not always positive being 6-18 after a blown save. But Strasburg is no sure thing as he and Washington are only 16-18 at home after a triumph.
Nonetheless, good team’s find ways to win and that is what the Nats have been doing and I will use them for MLB Picks tonight against a starting pitcher they should handle.
MLB Free Pick – Washington wins