Washington Nationals (21-19) at San Diego Padres (18-21)
SOS for SS!
Washington starter, Stephen Strasburg (1-5, 3.10) has gotten off to a very disappointing start to the 2013 season. Many thought that this kid had the potential to be the best pitcher in baseball for the next generation, but it hasn’t turned out that way through injuries and flat-out underperforming.
Strasburg sports an impressive 3.10 ERA, but he has been far from dominant and the name of the game is to beat your opponent. Strasburg has dropped his last 5 decisions.
The problem with Stephen Strasburg is that he hasn’t had the near perfect performance. He’s a pitcher that can only give the Nats 7 innings at best and the Nats haven’t given him much run support.
In all, the Nationals have given Strasburg 2 runs or less of run support in 6 out of his 8 outings this season. This team needs to start hitting for this pitcher to even have a chance of having a winning record.
Washington is coming off of a 3-1 loss to the Dodgers in which Adam LaRoche scored the lone run for the Nationals with a home run in the 4th inning. Bryce Harper actually got to pinch-hit in this game, but he needs to think about hitting the ball more consistently and not hitting walls.
The Nationals are 27th in the league in runs, 28th in batting average, and 28th in on-base percentage. This is a team with some respectable hitters, but clearly, Strasburg will have to carry this team on his back if he wants that elusive “W”.
Big Win Against Baltimore
The San Diego Padres don’t possess an overwhelming offense themselves, but are coming off of a productive 8-4 win over the Orioles.
In this game, they banged out 17 hits with leadoff hitter, Everth Cabrera, leading the way with a 4 hit game. Aside from Chase Headley, this team has some emerging players like Jedd Gyorko (3 for 5 last night) and the Padres are gradually growing some depth offensive as a team. Will it be enough behind veteran pitcher, Edison Volquez , to beat the great Stephen Strasburg is the question?
Strasburg is always going to get the respect and the Nationals are a -137 betting favorite. These odds are definitely high, but this is a pitcher that’s difficult to go against. Until the Nationals start hitting, keep the bets low, but Washington is the pick in this spot.
Pick- Washington -137 on Bet 365 MLB Odds Board
Cincinnati Reds (24-16) at Miami Marlins (11-29)
The Reds look to go for the series sweep as Mat Latos (4-0, 3.04) takes the mound and he’ll be opposed by Jose Fernandez (2-2, 3.65) for the Marlins.
The Reds have won 5 straight games along with 5 out of 6 from Miami while the Marlins have lost 4 straight games.
I’m sure that it’s pretty difficult for the Marlins players to be totally enthusiastic when very few people come out to watch them, but they get payed well and have to perform. It’s not all their fault as this team has been gutted and the payroll is quite low. These factors produce a bunch of no-namers and a losing franchise.
Above Average Offense
With Johnny Cueto out of the mix at the moment, the Reds offense has had to carry this team and they’ve done a splendid job. They rank 6th in the league in runs and 3rd in on-base percentage. A major reason for their success is the leadoff position. A team needs a good leadoff man to set the tone.
Shin Soo-Choo has been more like a locomotive in the leadoff spot as he’s been consistently on base and is the best leadoff hitter in the majors. We can take this a step further; he’s the best player on the Reds roster.
Choo has an on-base percentage of .465 to go along with a .322 batting average, 9 home runs, and 19 runs batted in. Choo is also coming off of a 2 home run game. This player is red hot and Jose Fernandez will need to proceed with caution when facing the native South Korean.
Miami is simply overmatched in this game. Lay the heavy juice and include Cincinnati as one of your MLB picks for Thursday.
Good Luck, everyone!