How will this series continue this morning (yes, it's a morning game) after a mid-evening game? It’s a show-stopping pitching matchup, that’s for sure & very intriguing from an MLB betting standpoint.
The San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals met in the National League Division series last year. Entering this weekend, the Nationals were seven games above .500, and the Giants were just a few games behind.
These teams played on Friday evening, so the winner of that game would bring momentum into this game. However, you immediately need to realize that with an 11:05 a.m. local time first pitch in Washington, D.C., whoever loses on Friday gets a chance to come to the ballpark very early on Saturday, and can immediately expunge the memory of the Friday game. The Giants and Nationals are both in search of a spark. The Giants’ spark was lost in terms of their bullpen, which was not the rock of Gibraltar it usually is in a sweep loss to the Marlins in Miami. The Nationals need to rev up their hitting again after they were shut down twice by the Atlanta Braves earlier in the week, once by a pitcher who was making his first-ever major league appearance. These teams sometimes look like they are going to be headed to the playoffs; they remind people why they played into October last year. Yet, at other times, these teams wobble and look very average, which has been the story of the National League this year other than the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates. Momentum is a wash, and is therefore something that’s very much up for grabs in this one.
With the arrival of the Fourth of July, fans might hope for fireworks in this game, otherwise known as an offensive explosion with lots of home runs. Don’t expect that in this game. The Giants go with Madison Bumgarner, the hero of the 2014 postseason, especially the World Series. Bumgarner has a 2.99 ERA, and he lowered that ERA from 3.12 over the course of the month of June, so he’s getting slightly better. Bumgarner has a 1.04 WHIP, one of the better marks in the big leagues. He has not given up more than two runs in any of his last four starts. He has pitched at least 7 1/3 innings in each of those starts as well. He’s locked in.
Washington goes with Stephen Strasburg, who has a 5.49 ERA this season but has lowered his ERA over a run since he had a 6.55 ERA two appearances ago. In his last two starts, Strasburg has allowed a total of two runs in 12 innings. He looks like he’s back on track, and that’s very encouraging news for the Nationals at this point in the season. If this is the guy the Nats can carry through the rest of the season, they’ll be in very good position to win their division.
What’s The Pick?
This is a bit of a misleading matchup. Bumgarner has been the better pitcher on the season but when you look at his recent outings, the Giants have lost three of his last four. He’s only allowed seven earned runs in those games but the Giants have only scored eight runs in that span – six of those coming in his last outing.
As for Strasburg, he has pitched well since coming back from injury. On top of that, the Nats are 23-14 at home this season and have a bit more momentum than the Giants. They’ve lost four straight and are just 21-19 on the road. That being the case, take the Nats on your MLB picks here.
MLB Pick: Nationals at The Greek