Before placing our MLB picks, we scrutinize the starting pitchers to see who has the edge. Some of these teams seem to be swirling down the toilet and may have extra motivation to earn the "W."
Nationals vs. Rockies: Washington's Woes are Significant
Coming into 2015, everybody thought this was the Nationals year. But starting in spring training, injuries occurred and the club many though manager Matt Williams would regularly put on the field has not happened.
At 58-59 (-13.5 units), Washington has lost six in a row, is 1-6 on this road trip and dropped its past three series. They have almost no chance for the wild card at 10 games back and thankfully for them have six games left with the first place New York Mets, trailing them by four in the loss column.
While injuries have mattered for Washington, one element nobody making MLB picks is talking about is how ineffective the Nationals pitching has been. Though the bullpen had questions, the starting staff was considered the best in the big leagues, yet they have only the sixth-best ERA in the NL, with a matching number in OPS.
Among the guilty party is tonight's starter Jordan Zimmermann (8-8, 3.34 ERA), whose walks are up and strikeouts are down this season and though he's been a victim of lack of runs, his 4.55 road ERA has not helped.
Zimmermann and Washington are -158 road favorites at Colorado according to the betting odds (Wagerweb.ag had them at -152 earlier) and with the Rockies 10-27 as an underdog of +125 to +175 this season, the Nats seem like the right choice for sports picks, but not with much enthusiasm.
Slight Advantage - Zimmermann and Washington
White Sox vs. Angels: Anaheim Needs Several Heavenly Efforts at Home
After Los Angeles squeaked out a 2-1 win over the White Sox last evening, they had to feel more relief than satisfaction. That was only the Angels seventh victory in 24 games, but it brought them within two games in the loss column of front-running Houston in the AL West.
The Halos have won six in a row at the Big A and need Garrett Richards (11-9, 3.55) to pitch like an ace, as he's inherited this role by default. Richards has seemed to either not be ready at the start or lost focused around the 70-pitch range and been strictly average over his last several outings. He and his Angels teammates are solid -170 home favorites and it little to with they have done.
John Danks (6-9, 4.58) stifled the Angels last week in Chicago, allowing one run in 7 1/3 innings in the White Sox eventual 3-2 win, but he is 0-3 with a 7.71 ERA in his last four on the road, where the White Sox have dropped five in a row. Plus, the Pale Hose have lost 12 of the last 15 nearly Disneyland.
Advantage - Richards and Los Angeles
Mariners vs. Rangers: Will Texas Two-Step into AL Playoffs?
When the Rangers acquired Cole Hamels, most figured it was to get him used to new surroundings and match him with Yu Darvish in 2016 and go further from there. Instead, Texas has decided this year is worth the trouble and they trail Baltimore by one game for a postseason invite and are just two games behind the Astros in the AL West.
Current MLB Odds show Texas as a +120 underdog to Seattle this evening, in part because their starter Chi Chi Gonzalez (2-4, 4.22) is 0-3 with a 9.47 ERA over his last four starts and Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma (4-2, 3.86) is 4-1 with a 2.47 ERA in seven starts, which includes a no-hitter six days ago.
However, the Rangers after being a crummy home team have won eight straight at Globe Life Park and 11 of 12 and are 19-11 after two or more consecutive wins this season.
Slight Advantage - Gonzalez and Texas