MLB Betting: Scherzer Will Sizzle In Nationals Winner Friday vs. Giants

Max Scherzer

Doug Upstone

Friday, July 29, 2016 2:49 PM GMT

Tonight is Game 2 of this four-game set between two of the National League's first place teams. The Nationals will look to make this series 2-0 as they are the MLB Pick for this game.

Washington Nationals vs San Francisco Giants
San Francisco's gruesome second half start has been widely discussed at 2-10, losing -13.54 units in the process. Inner circle baseball people I talked to felt the Giants were overachieving going into All-Star break and this is a just correction to bring the team back to their norm. Yet you have to wonder.

Washington has not been all that special since July 17th at 4-6 (-6.0 units), crippled by similar issues.

For MLB picks, let's go over the facts as to who might reach win column and if I can do better than stellar 30-14 record here.

 

Pitching Matchup - Scherzer vs. Samardzija
Max Scherzer and Jeff Samardzija are like two ships passing in the night, one headed to calm seas, while the other faces turbulent times. Scherzer (10-6, 2.92 ERA, 0.94 WHIP) has his Mad Max mojo back with 43 strikeouts and only seven walks in past five starts,  covering 34.1 innings. Scherzer made a modification to delivery and getting more movement on pitches which is causing more swings and misses and fewer home runs, which has plagued him this year at 22. However, Max has struggled in his career versus San Francisco, with dastardly 6.85 ERA and uncommon 1.52 WHIP, with his teams losing five of six.

Despite Samardzija (9-6, 4.22, 1.23) sporting an ERA of almost six (5.82) in last three starts, he is right about at career numbers for ERA and WHIP now at 4.11 and 1.27. However, the Giants and manager Bruce Boche did not bring him to Bay Area to hang those kinds of digits. They want to see the low 90's fastball sinking from the knees to calves with side to side action and breaking pitches not left hanging in the zone.

 

Offensive Numbers
After a rather lackluster week stretch, Washington has 20 runs this week in four games and looks to be swinging the bats better. If not for Daniel Murphy (.351 BA and 75 RBI's) and Wilson Ramos (.333 BA and 54 RBI's), the Nationals offense would be in bigger trouble. The reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper is down to .237 batting average, which is lowest for MVP since Kirk Gibson's injury-riddled 1989 campaign and is on pace for fifth-worst follow-up season in big league history according to Elias Sports Bureau.

San Francisco has scored three or fewer runs in eight of 12 contests since the break and when they reached five or more in the other games, three times the pitching was the culprit in defeat. Without both Hunter Pence and Joe Panek, Boche's lineup card has more outs and fewer clutch hits. There is only so much Buster Posey (.357 OBP) and Brandon Belt (.394 OBP) can do without more help.

 

Betting Odds, History and Bullpen Numbers
The MLB odds have Washington as a -142 road favorite (at Heritage) with a total of 7. In the last three seasons, the Giants hold a 6-5 and the total is also tight at 6-5, leaning towards the UNDER. If the game is close late, the Nats could have an edge with second-best bullpen ERA of 3.07, with San Fran an uncharacteristic ninth in the National League at 3.88.

 

Game Outcome
Make no mistake knowing Scherzer and the Nationals are 0-5 after a game in which he did not walk a batter is disconcerting, but Washington is in better form, Samardzija is 6-16 when the total is 7 or less since 2014 (Team's record) and San Francisco is 4-15 after two straight losses by two runs or less since last season.

 

Free MLB Play: Nationals -135
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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