This is one of the better and more attractive series to place MLB picks on as the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs are both right in the mix for two of the National League’s five playoff spots.
The Washington Nationals Can Win Because…
They have a veteran pitcher who is extremely solid. Jordan Zimmermann is not overwhelmingly great right now, but he’s plenty good, and his starts have been coinciding with Washington wins of late. The Nationals have won in each of Zimmermann’s last five starts. Zimmermann has gone at least six innings in all of them, at least seven innings in three of them. He has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of those starts. He has allowed more than one walk in only one of those starts. Zimmermann is doing the things quality pitchers do: He doesn’t give up cheap bases; he makes opposing hitters put the ball in play. He has given up a total of just two home runs for the entire season, over the course of nine starts. He avoids the big blast and therefore stays out of the big inning. This is a pitcher a bettor should trust. You generally know what you’re going to get from Zimmermann when he takes the mound. He has allowed more than three earned runs only once this season, and that was back on April 13 in an interleague game against the Boston Red Sox. Against the familiar lineups of the National League, his ERA has been much lower than his current 3.52 figure, certainly lower than three runs. That one fact should put the whole of Zimmermann’s season in perspective to this point.
The Nationals now lead the National League East after spending much of April behind the New York Mets. This team is playing good baseball, and Monday’s win over the Cubs should fill this team with a lot of confidence, which should flow up and down the batting order.
The Chicago Cubs Can Win Because…
These MLB odds underdogs have a starting pitcher who might be in the process of figuring things out. Kyle Hendricks has undeniably had a rocky regular season to this point. He has a 4.14 ERA, several tenths of a run higher than Zimmermann. At first glance, he doesn’t belong in Zimmermann’s league. However, in two of his last three starts, Hendricks hasn’t given up a run. The problem is that in the start when he gave up runs, he allowed five runs in just under six innings. Yet, despite that rough outing on May 15 against Pittsburgh, Hendricks has made genuine progress. He went through consistently rougher times in April, but on May 10 against Milwaukee and then on May 21 against San Diego, Kendrick pitched shutouts. His shutout against Milwaukee was a 5 1/3-inning effort, but his shutout against San Diego on May 21 was a complete-game shutout, with no walks. This kind of gem certainly indicates that Hendricks is getting better.
Baseball Betting Outlook
Hendricks has begun to improve but Zimmermann is a machine who can reasonably be depended on to throw six innings and allow no more than three runs. Taking that into account with the fact that the Nats have won eight of their last nine while the Cubs have dropped three of four, the choice for your MLB picks becomes clearer. Trust the more consistent pitcher here and take Washington.
MLB Pick: Washington -110 at The Greek