MLB Free Pick: Scherzer & Nats Get Nod Over Arrieta & Cubs

Washington Nationals

Willie Bee

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 12:44 PM GMT

Tuesday, Jun. 27, 2017 12:44 PM GMT

The bullpens were less than effective Monday night in a Cubs victory, and the Nationals are once again favored on the MLB odds when the series continues tonight.

They gave us an exciting contest Monday night, and Game 2 of their set in Washington could be even better with a pair of former Cy Young winners squaring off when the Nationals and Chicago Cubs hit the field on Tuesday. Jake Arrieta (7-5, 4.36) is on the mound for Chicago opposite Washington’s Max Scherzer (8-5, 2.09), and it is the Nationals carrying -165 chalk with 7½ for the scoreboard hurdle.

Monday’s series opener started as a pitchers’ duel before both teams put up runs late with the Cubs prevailing, 5-4. Bookmaker closed Chicago on a +140 money line and the game featured yet another leadoff homer for the Cubs, though this time it was catcher Willson Contreras plugged into the 1-hole of their lineup by manager Joe Maddon. Entering the series, the clubs had split the previous 10 meetings on this diamond with totals also halving 5-5 O/U.

 

Nats Not Supporting Scherzer In Recent Starts

Arrieta continues to confound Cubs fans and bettors with his inconsistency, and is coming off a very good performance after a couple of stinkers. The former TCU star needed just 82 pitches to get through seven innings last week in Miami, Chicago’s bats providing plenty of offense in the 11-1 rout of the Marlins. The only run he allowed was a solo shot off the bat of Marcell Ozuna, the 11th homer Arrieta has allowed on the road compared to one at Wrigley.

Scherzer wasn’t so fortunate a day earlier in Miami, getting no assistance from either his offense or defense in a 2-1 loss to the Fish. Lined as a -145 favorite on the MLB odds, both runs Scherzer allowed were unearned and it was the fourth time in his last five assignments that the Nationals scored three runs or fewer. He has faced the Cubs three times since joining Washington in 2015, winning two of them with a 3.78 ERA.

 

Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

Crew chief Larry Vanover is up next in the umpire rotation to call balls and strikes. The 24-year veteran is a level 4-4-1 O/U/P on the totals board this season after heavily favoring the ‘under’ a year ago (10-21-3). He hasn’t worked a game involving either the Cubs or Nats in 2017,and his last four plate assignments in this park split the totals while Washington won three of them as home chalk.

A cloudy day should begin to clear around game time when the thermometer is in the mid-to-upper 70s with a 10-12 mph WNW breeze (3B to RF corner). I can’t trust Arrieta yet for a free baseball pick, and will instead make a run-line play on Washington.

Free MLB Pick: Nationals -1½ (+135)Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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