Coming off a 5-2 home-stand the Nats now hit the road for a week, beginning with a four-game series in Philly starting Monday night (7:05 pm ET, ESPN).
We'll preview this series and provide updated odds, pitching match-ups and free MLB picks, for what they're worth, as it plays out.
By: Ron Patrick
For more MLB betting info, don't forget to read our Daily Baseball Odds & Betting Lines Report!
Thursday's Game Four
Washington got on the board in this series with a 5-1 victory Wednesday night, as Gio Gonzalez out-dueled Cliff Lee and the Nats hit four homers.
To our delight Washington won as +115 underdogs on Wednesday's MLB betting lines.
All three of the games in this series have played UNDER on the totals, as the teams have combined to score just 17 runs.
Thursday's Betting Lines
In the early betting, most outlets were listing Washington and Jordan Zimmerman at around -140 over Philly and Kyle Kendrick, with a total of eight.
Thursday's Pitching Match-Up
Don't forget to also check out today's Daily Pitching Report!
Kendrick (7-6, 3.90), by our tough standards, is 11-for-18 on quality starts this season, but 0 for his last two. Most recently he got bombed for six runs and 12 hits in five innings against Atlanta, and just prior to that he gave up four runs and 10 hits in six innings against the Dodgers.
On the season Kendrick has allowed 123 hits in 117 2/3 innings, walked 29 and struck out 72.
Philly is 10-8 in Kendrick's starts this season, but 1-3 in his last four outings.
Kendrick has started twice this season against the Nationals; in the first game he allowed five runs in five innings of a Philly loss, but in the second he gave up just one run and two hits in 7 2/3 innings, although the Phillies managed to lose that game, too.
Last year, in six appearances vs. the Nats, Kendrick allowed nine ER and 25 hits in 28 innings.
Zimmerman (12-3, 2.57) is 13-for-18 on quality starts this season, but he's also 0 for his last two. Last time out he gave up three runs in 5 1/3 innings vs. San Diego, and just before that he allowed four runs in six innings vs. Milwaukee.
For the season Zimmy has given up 102 hits in 126 innings, walked 18 and struck out 89.
Washington is a profitable 15-3 in Zimmerman's starts this year, and has won his last seven outings.
In his one start this year vs. Philly Zimmerman gave up two runs in seven innings of a 5-2 Nats victory back in May. Last year in three starts vs. the Phillies Zimmerman allowed seven ER and 19 hits in 17 innings; Washington lost two of those three games.
Our Take on Thursday's Game
We've had good luck betting Zimmerman over the last season and a half, and while we've also been playing Kendrick, he's had a rough last couple of outings. So we're leaning toward Washington today. But we also like to gamble, so we'll go with a run-line play on the Nats as part of our free MLB picksfor Thursday.
Wednesday's Game Three
By: Ron Patrick
Philly has taken the first two games of this series, after Tuesday night's 4-2 victory. The Phillies won as +100 “dogs” Monday night, then as -145 favorites Tuesday, as Cole Hamels produced another quality start.
The first two games of this series have both stayed UNDER on the totals, as the teams have combined to score just 11 runs.
Philly now leads this season series five games to three.
Game 3 of this four-game series is set for Wednesday night (7:05 pm ET).
Wednesday's Betting Odds
As of Wednesday AM most MLB odds boards were chalking Philly and Cliff Lee at around -130 over Washington and Gio Gonzalez, with a total of 7.5.
Wednesday's Pitching Match-Up
Cliff Lee (10-2, 2.73), by our strict standards, is 15-for-18 on quality starts this season, and just had a string of 11 in a row snapped last week when he gave up four runs in 6 1/3 innings vs. the Braves. In his 11 starts before that he had gone at least seven innings and given up no more than three runs every time out.
For the season the former Cy Young Award winner has allowed 108 hits in 131 2/3 innings, walked just 21 while whiffing 119.
In his one start this season vs. Washington Lee gave up two runs (on two solo homers) in eight innings, walked none and struck out nine in a 4-2 Philly victory three weeks ago. Last year, in three starts vs. the Nats, Lee allowed four ER and 20 hits in 20 innings; the Phillies won two of those games.
Gonzalez (6-3, 3.14) is 12-for-18 on quality starts this year, and is working on a string of seven straight starts having allowed three ER or fewer. Last time out he gave up three runs in 6 2/3 innings vs. the Padres, and over his last seven starts he's given up 11 ER through 47 innings.
For the season Gonzo has allowed just 84 hits in 111 2/3 innings, walked 45 and struck out 109.
Washington is 11-7 in Gonzalez' starts this year, and has won his last four.
In his one start this year vs. the Phillies Gonzo held them to two runs through seven innings and struck out a season-high 11 in a 6-2 Nats win three weeks ago. Last year, in four starts vs. Philly, Gonzalez gave up six ER and 18 hits through 25 innings; Washington won three of those games.
The Nationals are 13-12 this year against left-handed starting pitchers, while the Phillies are 9-11 vs. southpaws.
Our Take on Wednesday's Game
This should be a good one, with this pitching match-up, and it's a tough one to pick. Lee has been good to us already this season, and Gonzo was good to us last year. So we don't want to go against either of them. But forced to choose, we'll go with the better price and take Washington for our free MLB pick for Wednesday.Free MLB Pick: Take the Nats at the +120 offered at MatchBook.
Tuesday's Game Two
By: Ron Patrick
Philly won Monday's series opener 3-2, getting eight shutout innings from John Lannan, then hanging on in the ninth, as closer Jonathan Papelbon let Washington get within a run before recording the final out.
The Phillies won as +100 “home dogs” on Monday's MLB odds, and the game, to our puzzlement, stayed well UNDER its total of nine.
These teams get together for Game 2 of this four-game series Tuesday night (7:05 pm ET).
Tuesday's Betting Odds
As of Tuesday AM most baseball betting outlets were listing Philly and Cole Hamels at around -135 over Washington and rookie Taylor Jordan, with an OVER/UNDER of 8.5.
Hamels (3-11, 4.38) is 11-for-17 on quality starts this season, but only one for his last three. Last time out he held Pittsburgh to one ER through seven innings, walking none while striking out eight, but in his two starts prior to that he gave up eight ER in 12 innings against the Mets and Padres.
On the season Hamels has allowed 110 hits in 113 innings, walked 33 and struck out 107.
But thanks in large part to some poor run support Philly is just 4-14 in Hamels' starts this season.
In his one start this season vs. Washington Hamels gave up three ER in 6 1/3 innings of a 6-1 Phillies loss back on May 26. Last year, in four starts vs. the Nats, Hamels gave up just six ER and 23 hits in 28 innings; Philly won three of those four games.
Jordan (0-1, 2.70), a righty, is 0-for-2 on quality starts this season, which for him began 10 days ago. In his first career ML start he allowed one ER in 4 1/3 inning against the Mets, and in his last outing he held Milwaukee to two ER through 5 2/3 innings. So on the year Jordan has given up three ER and 11 hits in 10 innings, walked two and struck out four.
Jordan, a ninth-round draft pick by the Nats four years ago, earned a shot at a temporary spot in the Washington rotation by going 9-1 with a 1.00 ERA at A and AA ball this Spring.
Obviously, this will be Jordan's first-ever start vs. Philly.
Our Take on Tuesday's Game
Hamels has been pitching in some tough luck this season, although we did take him for a winner his last time out. And he's been tough on Washington over the last season-plus. Meanwhile, while Jordan was very good in the Minors, we're not quite ready to trust a guy who's never even pitched in Triple-A. So we'll go with Philly for our free sports pick for Tuesday.Pick: Take the Phillies at the -128 offered at MatchBook.
Monday's Series Opener
By: Ron Patrick
Monday's Betting Odds
As of Monday morning most baseball betting outlets were listing Washington and Dan Haren at around -115 over Philly and John Lannan, with an OVER/UNDER of nine.
But MLB odds on offer at The Greek were chalking the Phillies at -120 to win this series, with the Nats “getting” +100.
Nats-Phillies Series Set-Up
Washington just swept three games from San Diego over the weekend, taking Sunday's game 11-7, and has won four straight overall, scoring 32 runs in the process.
The Nats have also given up 21 runs in that span, which has helped their last four games play OVER on the totals.
Philly, meanwhile, just took two of three games from Atlanta over the weekend, winning Sunday 7-3. So the Phillies have won two series in a row.
Philly has also played five OVERS in a row, scoring 27 runs while giving up 30.
So at 46-42 the Nats sit in second place in the National League East, four games back of first-place Atlanta, while Philly, at 43-46, is in third place, 7.5 games behind the Braves.
These two teams have split six games so far this season, each taking two of three games on their home fields. Also, five of those six games have played OVER on the totals.
Monday's Pitching Match-Up
Dan Haren (4-9, 6.15) will come off the DL to make his first start in 16 days. On the season he's just 4-for-15 on quality starts, and 0 for his last four. Last time out, back on June 22, Haren gave up six runs in less than four innings vs. Colorado, and during the month of June he allowed 20 earned runs in 18 1/3 innings. He then experienced some discomfort in his shoulder, and went on the DL.
On the season Haren has permitted 105 hits, of which 19 are homers, in 82 innings, walked 13 and struck out 67.
Washington won four of Haren's first seven starts this year, but has lost his last eight outings.
In his two starts this season vs. Philly, Haren has allowed seven ER and 11 hits in 12 innings; the Nats lost both those games.
Lannan (1-3, 5.15) is 3-for-7 on quality starts this year, just one for four since he himself came off the DL three weeks ago. Last time out the former Nat gave up four runs and 11 hits in five innings vs. Pittsburgh, and over his last four starts he's given up 11 ER in 22 innings.
For the season Lannan has allowed 46 hits in 36 2/3 innings, walked 10 and struck out 21.
But Philly has managed to win four of Lannan's seven starts this year.
In his one outing this season vs. Washington Lannan gave up two runs in five innings of a 5-4 Phillies victory back on June 17.
In the battle of the bullpens for this series the Nats rank 16th in the Majors with a 3.69 ERA and have converted 26 of 36 save opportunities, while Philly ranks 29th with a 4.58 ERA while converting 19 of 29 save opps.
Nats-Phillies Betting Trends
Philly is three games under .500 overall but 21-19 at home.
Washington is four games over .500 but 19-24 on the road.
These two teams are a combined 94-77 on the OVER/UNDERS this season.
The O/Us are also 26-13 in games played at the Bank this year.
And the totals are a combined 14-6 in Haren and Lannan's starts this season.
Nats-Phillies Injury Update
Phillies slugger Ryan Howard was placed on the DL Saturday because of a sore knee.
Our Take on Monday's Game
Neither of Monday's starting pitchers has done much to inspire us with any confidence, so we're having a tough time picking a side on this game. Instead, we'll look toward the total and go with the OVER for our free sports pick for Monday.Free MLB Pick: Take the OVER nine runs at MatchBook.