The Nationals have slipped over 10 cents as favorites on MLB odds as their once hot batting order now resembles an ice structure. It might look pretty but not doing anything useful.
In this late afternoon affair in the Queen City, Washington hopes to find its offense and needs Gio Gonzalez to pitch well deep into dusk.
Washington Not Scoring Runs
With last night’s 5-2 loss to Cincinnati, the Nationals are 4-3 in the last week and have scored a mere 2.6 runs per game. Bryce Harper can only carry his team for so long and while Ian Desmond is batting .352 over his 13-game hitting streak, there is not enough support throughout manager Matt Williams batting order. Hard to say how much help Harper can be with baseball handicappers scratching their heads in wonderment why he is only 7 for 41 in a hitter’s paradise like Great American Ball Park.
If the Nationals are to beat the MLB betting odds and be considered for sports picks, they will need Gonzalez to have a very sharp showing, which he typically does against Cincinnati. (More on that below)
Last night after only one inning and 16 pitches, Stephen Strasburg left with a still neck and four different Nats pitches were used the rest of the contest. Gonzalez will have to on his game tonight for Washington to be a winner and save the pen.
Reds Attempt to Get Red-Hot After Being Ice Cold
For those making MLB picks, two ways to think about Cincinnati this afternoon: is the glass half empty even with last night’s win being losers of nine of 11 or is the glass half full with better days ahead having taken two of the past three tilts?
There are positive signs as Todd Frazier went yard for the third time in four games and is second in homers in the NL at 15, three behind Harper. Joey Votto might be coming out of his slump with a recent 3 for 10 surge. The Reds bullpen is not fixed but has lowered its ERA from over 5 to 4.61 and has been replaced by Atlanta as the worst in the league.
Pitching Matchup – Gonzalez vs. Iglesias
Washington’s Gio Gonzalez (4-2, 4.53 ERA) will make his 10th start of the year and is looking to build on a strong outing his last time out in victory over Philadelphia against a team he’s very comfortable in facing. Gonzalez is 2-1 with a runty 1.06 ERA in five career starts against the Reds, holding them to a .138 batting average and averaging better than 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings. The left-hander features a 90-94 MPH fastball he has to keep low in the zone because his breaking pitches, in which he changes speeds, have a big arc and if he’s throwing fastball up, the batter’s eye level is not adjusted enough and he can be hit.
Raisel Iglesias (1-1, 4.26) is making his fourth start and has the impossible task in stepping into the rotation for injured ace Johnny Cueto. Iglesias has a mid to low 90’s fastball and a variety of breaking pitches he prefers to alter his arm angle on for deception. He will have to be better than his last start throwing 84 pitches in only three innings in a 5-2 setback at Cleveland.
Odds and Outcome
The betting odds over at Wagerweb have Washington at -120 with a total of 7.5. The Nationals have not lost consecutive games since tumbling six times from April 22-27 and are 22-7 since that time. Gonzalez might appear beatable, but the Nats are 7-2 in his starts and in his career the southpaw is 71-37 vs. teams whose hitters strike out seven or more times a game. (Team's Record)
Toss these in the blender with Cincy using a rookie pitcher and having a 3-13 mark in day baseball, Washington is getting my money with my MLB picks.
MLB Free Pick – Washington wins at WagerWeb