After arriving in Denver on a long losing skid, the Nationals can leave town with a sweep of the Rockies, and the MLB odds say they're going to do just that.
One night after a slugfest at Coors Field, the Washington Nationals and Colorado Rockies locked up in a pitchers duel between Stephen Strasburg and Jorge De La Rosa. Colorado relievers finally cracked, Strasburg got his first-ever victory in Denver and just like that, the Nationals had a 2-game win streak.
They'll try to make it three in a row and end this road trip with a sweep in Colorado tonight in another 8:40 PM (ET) start. It's a mound rematch from a clash in Washington on August 9 as Max Scherzer toils for the Nats against Yohan Flande of the Rocks, and as you'd expect hearing those names, the MLB odds are pretty hefty on the visitors. Washington is going for -180 at 5Dimes where a 10 run total is split high and low.
Scherzer Makes 1st Start In Denver Since 2009
August has not been a kind to Scherzer who brings a 7.80 ERA for the month into Thursday's tilt. Five of the 18 homers he has allowed all season have been hit in Scherzer's last two starts, both of them Washington defeats, the latest coming last Friday in San Francisco where the Giants chased him with six runs in only three innings.
The Rockies clubbed three homers off Scherzer the start for that, the righthander taking a no-decision in a 6-4 Colorado victory. He hasn't pitched at Coors Field since his days with the Diamondbacks (2008-09), and is 0-2 in three career starts on this bump with a 5.62 ERA.
Flande also took a no-decision in that 6-4 Rockies win against Scherzer a little less than two weeks ago, the lefty hitting the showers before the end of the fifth having surrendered three runs, all coming plateward on solo blasts. His last assignment wasn't much better, giving up four runs and two long flies in six frames vs. the Padres last Friday. Colorado dropped both of his starts vs. the Nationals in 2014 (10.2 IP, 7 ER), and Ryan Zimmerman has been his Krypton with four hits -- two of them leaving the yard -- in six at bats.
Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
Lance Barksdale will call balls and strikes to finish up this series, and it's the highest total for a game the Mississippi native has worked the dish this year. Barksdale brings an 11-8-2 O/U/P record into the affair, his first under the mask at Coors Field in nearly two years which went 'over' the MLB odds to leave him 4-1 to the high side his last five plate assignments in Denver. Home teams are 14-7 when Barksdale has the plate, 2-2 as underdogs.
It's going to be a little warmer tonight than the previous two evenings, the weatherman calling for a first pitch temp in the mid-to-upper 70s. I do smell a broom job, and like Washington on the run line for my free baseball pick.
MLB Pick: Nationals -1½ (-102) at 5Dimes