MLB Picks: Nationals vs. Giants Series Coverage

Darin Zank

Monday, May 20, 2013 4:00 PM UTC

Monday, May. 20, 2013 4:00 PM UTC

A pair of second-place teams at the moment hook up as the Washington Nationals continue a West Coast road trip with a stop in San Francisco for three games with the Giants starting Monday night (10:15 pm ET).

Neither team has been playing very well as of late; which team will wake up and take the money with our MLB picks in this series?


Wednesday's Game Three

By: Ron Patrick


San Francisco stole the second game of this series Tuesday night 4-2, tying the game in the bottom of the ninth on a two-out, two-strike triple by Gregor Blanco, then winning it on a Pablo Sandoval homer in the bottom of the tenth.

The Giants took the money Tuesday as a -115 favorite on the MLB odds, and the game stayed UNDER its total of 6.5. 

The Nationals have scored a total of seven runs in losing their last four games. 

So San Fran, at 26-20, will go for a sweep of 23-23 Washington when the teams meet for the series finale Wednesday afternoon (3:45 pm ET). 

Wednesday's Betting Lines 

As of Wednesday AM, most baseball books we surfed were listing San Francisco with Madison Bumgarner at around -150 over Washington with Gio Gonzalez, with the O/U proffered at 6.5.


Wednesday's Pitching Match-Up

Bumgarner (4-2, 3.09) is six-for-nine on quality starts this season, but only one for his last three. And he's coming off one of the worst outings of his career, last Friday vs. the Rockies, in which he got tagged for seven ER in less than five innings of a 10-9 Giants loss. 

Over his last three starts Bumsie has been nicked for 13 ER over 17 2/3 innings. But on the season he's still given up just 45 hits in 58 1/3 innings, walked 15 and struck out 58. 

Also, despite some poor run support, San Francisco is 6-3 in Bumgarner's starts this season, with the totals going 3-6. 

Last year Bumgarner started twice against Washington; in the first game he got bombed for seven ER in five innings; but in the second game he allowed just one ER in nine innings. San Fran split those two games.

Gonzalez (3-2, 4.01) is five-for-nine on quality starts this season, and three for his last three. Last time out he held the Padres to two earned runs through 6 2/3 innings, and over his last three starts he's allowed just four ER through 19 2/3 innings. 

For the season Gonzo has given up 39 hits in 51 2/3 innings and stuck out 52, but the 24 walks have been a bit of a problem. 

The Nats are 6-3 in Gonzo's starts this season, with the totals going 7-2. 

Gonzalez started once last year against the Giants, holding them to two ER and six hits in 6 2/3 innings of a 14-2 Nats romp in August. 

Our Take on Wednesday's Game 

This pitching match-up looks very close to us. But while Washington has been having some problems scoring runs lately, the price on this game seems a bit high. So in a value play we'll take the Nationals to stave off a sweep for our free MLB pick for Wednesday.   

Pick: Take Washington at the +139 offered at 5Dimes.


Tuesday's Game Two

By: Ron Patrick


San Fran took the opener of this series Monday night 8-0, rapping out 17 hits, 14 of them singles. 

The Giants won as -140 chalk on Monday's MLB betting line, and the game PUSHED its total of eight. 

But the Giants took a hit when SP Ryan Vogelsong broke a bone in his hand swinging at a pitch that hit him; early reports indicate he'll be out about six weeks.

Washington OF Bryce Harper was questionable for Monday's game as he deals with a sore knee, but he played, going 0-for-4 at the plate. 

So San Francisco remains one game out of first place in the NL West, while Washington sits 3.5 games out of the lead in the NL East, as the teams prepare for Game 2 of this series Tuesday night (10:15 pm ET).

Tuesday's MLB Betting Odds

As of Tuesday AM, most MLB odds shops were listing the Giants and Matt Cain at right around -120 for Tuesday's game over the Nats and Stephen Strasburg, with an OVER/UNDER of 6.5.


Tuesday's Pitching Match-Up 

Cain (3-2, 5.43) is off to a rough start to this season. He started poorly, then seemed to improve for a few starts, but last time out got nicked for six runs in 6 1/3 innings by the Rockies. On the season Cain, by our tough standards, is four-for-nine on quality starts, allowing 51 hits, including 13 homers, in 56 1/3 innings. 

The Giants lost Cain's first five starts this season, but with some good run support have won his last four.

Last year Cain started once against Washington, giving up three ER in 6 2/3 innings of a 6-5 San Francisco loss in DC in July. 

Strasburg (2-5, 2.83) has been pitching in some tough luck so far this year; he's six-for-nine on quality starts, but thanks to some lousy run support has only two wins to his credit. And Washington is only 3-6 in his starts, although that's been by no means Strasburg's fault. 

Last time out Strasburg held the Padres to one ER and three hits through seven innings, helping the Nats to 6-2 victory. So for the season Strasburg has allowed just 46 hits in 57 1/3 innings, walked 18 and struck out 55.

Last year Strasburg started once against Washington and picked up a win, giving up two ER and four hits through six innings of a 6-4 Nats victory at AT&T Park in August. 

The OVER/UNDERS are a combined 11-6 in Cain and Strasburg's starts this season.

Our Take on Tuesday's Game

Despite his record we give Strasburg the edge in the pitching match-up, and while Washington has had some trouble scoring runs lately, Cain has not been his usual self this season. So in taking the better pitcher at the better price we'll go with the Nationals for our free MLB pick for Tuesday. 

Pick: Take Washington at the +107 offered at Matchbook. 


Series Opener

By: Ron Patrick


Nats-Giants Betting Odds 

Most baseball books we consulted Monday morning opened San Francisco, with the struggling Ryan Vogelsong slated to start, at around -130 for Monday night's game over Washington with lefty Zach Duke. Most books then also bumped the Giants about a nickel, to -135. 

Also, the MLB odds at TheGreek was listing San Fran at -135 to win this series, with the Nats getting +115.


Nats-Giants Series Set-Up 

San Francisco just dropped three of four games to the Rockies in Colorado over the weekend, losing Sunday 5-0 to complete a 1-5 road trip during which the Giants' vaunted pitching staff gave up an alarming 52 runs. 

So at 24-20 San Fran sits in second place in the NL West, one game back of division-leading Arizona. 

Washington, meanwhile, just split four games in San Diego over the weekend, losing Sunday 13-4. So the Nats are 3-4 on their current road trip, and have been held to two runs or fewer in five of their last nine games. 

At 23-21 Washington sits in second place in the NL East, 2.5 games back of division-leading Atlanta. 

This is the first meeting this season between these two teams; last year the Nats took the series from the Giants five games to one, with all six games playing OVER on the totals, mainly because those totals were very low. 

Monday's Pitching Match-Up 

Vogelsong (1-4, 8.06) is off to a puzzlingly bad start to this season, with just one quality start to his credit so far. Last time out Vogie gave up eight runs (three earned) in two innings vs. Toronto, and just before that he gave up six runs in four-plus innings vs. the Braves.

On the season Vogelsong, who was so good the previous two seasons, has allowed 37 ER and 59 hits, including 11 homers, in just 41 1/3 innings; the Giants are 3-5 in his starts, and seven of his eight starts have gone OVER on the totals.

Vogelsong started once against Washington last year and posted his worst outing of the season, getting  bombed for eight ER in less than three innings of a 14-2 San Francisco defeat.  

After nine relief appearances Duke will be making his first start of the season, filling in for the injured Ross Detwiler. But this start doesn't look like it's based on merit, because on the season Duke has been tagged for 14 ER and 22 hits in just 15 innings.  In his last outing, nine days ago against the Cubs, Duke got dinged for four runs in less than an inning of work. 

Duke's last start against San Francisco came three seasons ago, as a Pirate. 

In the match-up between bullpens for this series Giants relievers rank fourth in the Majors with a 2.91 ERA and are 14-for-18 on save opportunities, while the Nationals' pen ranks 18th with a 3.87 ERA and is 13-for-19 on save opps. 

Nats-Giants Betting Trends

These two teams are somewhat surprisingly a combined 49-36 on the OVER/UNDERS this season. 

The totals are 12-9 in games played at AT&T Park this season, which have averaged 8.3 runs per. 

Injury Update

Nationals OF Bryce Harper has missed recent action with a sore knee, and is listed as questionable for Monday's game. 

Our Take on Monday's Game 

This is a tough one; Vogelsong has been terrible so far this season, making us wonder how healthy he might be, but Duke hasn't been any better.  But we still give Vogie the edge in the pitching match-up; the Giants own the edge in the bullpen; and Washington has been having a tough time scoring runs, and might be without Harper. So we'll go with San Francisco for our free MLB pick for Monday.

Pick: Take the Giants at the -134 offered at TheGreek. 

Bettors interested in this series should re-visit this page over the next few days for updates, new pitching match-ups and more  free picks, for what they're worth.
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