The Nationals are back at full strength & look to make a late charge to catch the Mets in the NL East. Washington won the series opener with San Diego & are favored to take Game 2.
Padres-Nationals Wednesday Odds
As of this writing the best line we could find on Washington and Gio Gonzalez was the -179 offered at BetOnline, while San Diego and Tyson Ross were getting +166 at Heritage. And most books were listing a total on tonight's game of 6.5 runs, with a few sevens out there, too.
Washington won the opener of this series Tuesday night 8-3, getting a grand slam from Ryan Zimmerman and a quality outing from Stephen Strasburg. So the Nats have won three games in a row for the first time in more than a month, while San Diego has lost two straight for the first time in more than two weeks.
At 63-61 Washington trails division-leading New York by 5.5 games in the NL East, and the only way the Nats are going to make the playoffs is by catching the Mets.
At 61-64 the Padres trail division-leading Los Angeles by 7.5 games in the NL West.
The Nats lead this season series four games to one, with the OVERS, somewhat surprisingly, going 4-1.
Gonzalez (9-6, 3.98), by our strict standards, is only 11-for-23 on quality starts, 0 for his last two, and has been having trouble just going six innings lately. Last Friday he gave up five runs – four earned – through five innings against a mediocre Milwaukee lineup, and just before that he coughed up six runs in less than three innings against San Francisco. For the season Gonzalez has allowed more hits, 143, than innings pitched, 131, walked 49 and struck out 117.
Washington is 13-10 in Gonzo's starts, with the totals skewing OVER by a 14-8 margin.
In three career starts against San Diego, the most recent coming back in 2013, Gonzalez has allowed five ER through 19 1/3 innings; the Nats won all three of those games, with the totals going 2-1.
Ross (8-9, 3.32) is 13-for-26 on quality starts, and three for his last four. And but for a half-dozen more outs he'd be five for his last five. Last Wednesday he held Atlanta to one run through six innings, and over his last five outings he's allowed nine ER through 29 innings (2.79 ERA). On the season Ross has allowed fewer hits, 140, including just five homers, than innings pitched, 152, walked 70, which is too many, and struck out 160.
The Padres are 14-12 in Ross' starts, with the totals leaning OVER 14-11.
In two career starts against Washington, most recently a decent effort back on May 14 of this season, Ross has allowed seven ER through 10 1/3 innings; San Diego split those two games.
Wednesday's Batting Splits
San Diego ranks 28th in the Majors this season against left-handed pitching with a .236 team batting average, and 27th with a .301 team on-base percentage.
Washington, on the other hand, ranks 20th against right-handed pitching with a .250 team BA and 13th with a .319 team OBP.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Nationals Park this season are 30-25 on the totals, even though they're averaging just 7.7 runs per. Apparently MLB odds have had some low totals for Nationals home games.
Washington is about as healthy as it's been all season, and even just got Denard Span back from a six-week stint on the DL. Bryce Harper may get most of the ink for the Nats, but we believe Span is this team's real spark-plug.
Pads-Nats Wednesday Free Picks
We'll give Ross the edge in the pitching match-up, Washington a short edge with the sticks, and we'll call the bullpen comparison a wash. So with those factors balancing out we like the value on today's line with San Diego. Also, these two starting pitchers are a combined 28-19 on the totals this season, so we're thinking OVER.
MLB Picks: Padres & OVER 6.5 runs (-115) at Pinnacle