Between the Nats & the Red Sox, which team gives us the best chance of cashing in our MLB picks? Washington's coming off an extra inning victory over Philly, while Boston got spanked in the Bronx last night.
Washington Nationals (2-4, -3.4 units)
Things just aren't as easy for the Nationals in the early going as we those backing them with MLB picks thought they might be. Sure the pitching has been as advertised but the offense is still lingering in spring training. Yesterday the Nationals escaped a series sweep at the hands of Philadelphia by edging the Phillies 4-3 and picking up their second victory of the season.
Today Washington sends gunslinger Jordan Zimmermann to the hill and hopes he can recreate his first outing of the season when he outdueled reigning NL Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom en route to a 2-1 win. It should be noted that while Jordan Zimmermann surrendered only one earned run on five hits it was in fact Ryan Zimmerman whose defensive heroics and two-run dinger provided the impetus towards victory.
The Nationals are 2-0 against Boston when Zimmermann starts and Zimmermann has a 2.57 ERA and a WHIP of 1.071 in his career starts against Boston. His last appearance in Boston was on June 10th, 2012 when he notched a 4-3 victory over then Boston ace Jon Lester.
Boston Red Sox (4-2, +1.7 units)
The Red Sox must have felt they played a week's worth of games during their weekend set with archrivals the New York Yankees. On Friday night the teams battled into the wee hours of Saturday morning in an historic 19-inning marathon that was ultimately won by the Sox 6-5. Saturday night the teams were back at it as Boston starter Joe Kelly pitched a dandy that led to an 8-4 triumph for the MLB odds underdogs.
Last night was a different kettle of fish for the Red Sox as designated ace Clay Buchholz, who was so effective in his debut stymieing the Phillies over seven innings and surrendering only three hits, returned to his enigmatic form and got lit up for nine earned runs on nine hits over just three plus innings of work. Boston bowed 14-4 and the Sox took an early morning flight out of New York and arrived at Logan airport when the rest of us were in a deep sleep.
This afternoon the Sox will trot freshly signed Rick Porcello out to the mound and rely on him to outduel the talented Jordan Zimmermann. Porcello is 0-1 with a 4.50 after one outing this season and will make his career debut against the Nationals.
MLB Betting Verdict
Boston is certainly living up to their offensive hype, battering pitchers for 34 runs in their first six contests. In addition, Rick Porcello is a fine addition to their staff who was often overlooked in the talented Detroit starting rotation.
However, Jordan Zimmermann is the kind of pitcher who can paralyze an offense for the better part of an entire game. The Nats have not hit their stride offensively and Boston should be road weary and bleary-eyed after their marathon in New York. I doubt the Boston hitters are going to be ready and rarin' to go when they take a look at what Jordan Zimmermann is offering up.
As I peruse the MLB odds in this one I notice that Washington is a slight road dog here. There won't be many opportunities to get J-Zimm at a bargain basement price. Here we have that chance against what should be an exhausted group of Red Sox in an afternoon game no less.
MLB Picks: Play Washington +107 at The Greek