MLB Betting: Roark Guarantees Nationals Bad Bullpen Will See Action

Mark Lathrop

Saturday, July 15, 2017 9:34 PM UTC

Saturday, Jul. 15, 2017 9:34 PM UTC

Our MLB handicapper spots a situation where a team's major weakness will come into play. Learn how to profit from it as Mark Lathrop breaks down the Nationals and Reds in Sunday action.

2017 MLB Record, 136-124-8, +1.44 Units

Washington Nationals vs Cincinnati Reds

The Cincinnati Reds bullpen was used heavily to begin the season and lead the league in innings pitched on the year. That has abated in recent weeks, and over the last 14 days the Reds bullpen is ranked 2nd in the MLB in overall effectiveness according to WAR. Returning starters like Homer Bailey is one of the reasons for that, and after a few shaky starts Bailey has seemed to have found his groove. The former 7th overall draft pick has put in two quality starts in a row, giving up only one run in each over 6 and 6.2 innings pitched, respectively. More impressive is that Bailey’s last two starts were on the road in Colorado and Arizona. His velocity is up as well and averaging 94.3 mph on his fastball in his last start. It’s a good thing for the Reds, since he has 3 years remaining on his $105 million-dollar contract.

This looks like a decent matchup for Bailey, as he has always been able to handle left-handed batters pretty well. The Nationals are stacked on that side of the plate, and with these regulars likely not getting the day off he could find some success. Another 6-inning outing and passing it to the hot Reds bullpen that has put up a 1.93 ERA over their last 32.2 innings pitched should have value.

Tanner Roark gets the start for the Nationals and has been struggling mightily in recent starts. This will be only his second start since June 30th as one of his starts got postponed and the Nationals ended up skipping him in the rotation. He’s getting killed by lefties this year so look for Joey Votto and Scooter Gennett to be in the lineup and have good days. On the year lefties are hitting .307 off of Roark with a .515 slugging percentage. Roark also allowed a .333 batting average allowed to all batters in June, to give you some perspective into how much he’s struggling.

Speaking of struggling, and since we have a pitcher that has had shorter outings of late, we need to talk about the Washington bullpen. The Nationals have the worst bullpen in the league according to accrued WAR and have a team FIP of 4.89. There are no trends saying it is getting better either, as the Nationals’ bullpen is dead last in the last month and also in the last 14 days – with a 6.55 FIP.

Even if you consider Bailey and Roark as a wash, and I think Bailey is better now, the Nationals bullpen will come into play here as a detriment to their team. For this reason, I will take the Reds at home on the moneyline at plus odds as one of my Sunday MLB picks.

Free MLB Picks: Reds +106Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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