The series is all tied up at 1-1, and we've got quite the pitchers duel on our hands in the decider. Are we backing Strasburg and the Nationals or Harvey and the Mets with our MLB picks today?
What a game this should be, and how fitting that it will decide the series winner. We've got two of the best pitchers in the game going head-to-head, but right now it's Stephen Strasburg's Nationals that are favored at home at a number right around -115 on the MLB betting odds lines.
That leaves the Mets as +105 to +110 underdogs, which is very appealing considering we get to back one of the most elite hurlers in baseball at a plus price. We can't be shocked at all to see a low total of six runs either. Don't expect much offense.
Washington Nationals (Strasburg)
The Nationals evened things up last night behind a solid season debut from Jordan Zimmermann and some timely hits. Washington generated two runs on seven hits, but that's all they needed in the end.
After a short rain delay to start the game, Zimmermann came out and threw six solid innings, allowing five hits and a single earned run while striking out four and walking none. Ryan Zimmerman provided all the offense Washington needed, launching a two-run shot in the first inning off of Jacob deGrom. From there, the pitching staff held strong to preserve the victory and give the Nationals their first win of the season.
Testament to how strong this Washington pitching staff is, now Stephen Strasburg takes the bump. The 26-year-old right hander went 14-11 with a 3.14 ERA last season and struck out 242 batters in 215 innings of work. He avoided any major injuries and was able to be a catalyst for the Nationals atop the rotation. Will he be able to start off 2015 strong in front of the home fans?
New York Mets (Harvey)
It was a solid outing from deGrom yesterday, as he surrendered six hits and two runs over six innings (with six punchouts and two walks), but he didn't get much run support and ended up with the losing decision. All it took was a two-run homer in the first inning for Zimmermann and the Nationals.
Things are looking up though, as Matt Harvey gets set to toe the rubber for his first official start in quite some time. When at full strength, there may not be a more dominant pitcher (aside from Clayton Kershaw), so New York has to be ecstatic that he's back in the fold. Harvey will reportedly be on a pitch limit (90) as to not overwork him from the start, but as one of the most effective pitchers in baseball, he should still be able to log a quality outing.
Harvey sat out the entire 2014 season, but in 2013 he was incredible, going 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA and 191:31 K:BB ratio over 178.1 innings. You know he's going to be amped up to make his official return here today.
It's never easy fading a pitcher like Strasburg, especially when he's at home, but the same can be said for Harvey, who was arguably the top pitcher out there when healthy.
Plus, the Washington offense is weakened right now due to injuries, so even with a potential pitch limit, we don't think Harvey will have much trouble mowing down these Nationals.
It's a big season debut for Harvey, and we expect him to rise the occasion. Plus, Strasburg has been inconsistent at times, and we wouldn't be surprised to see him give up at least a couple runs in a shaky inning or two. As for our MLB pick selection we feel more confident in New York's bats right now than we do the shorthanded Nationals.
Free MLB Pick: New York Mets +105 at The Greek