Nationals to Make Streaking Pirates Walk the Plank in D.C.

Dana Lane

Monday, April 30, 2018 4:16 PM UTC

Monday, Apr. 30, 2018 4:16 PM UTC

Washington's home stadium has been a house of horrors for Pittsburgh, which has lost 11 of its last 14 games there. Things won't be any different tonight at Nationals Park.

MLB Monday: Pirates (17-11 SU) vs. Nationals (12-16 SU)Free MLB Pick: Nationals MLBest Line Offered: Pinnacle

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One thing certain about a Clint Hurdle team is that they’ll never quit. After dropping 7 of 8 games to relinquish their lead in the National League Central, most of the talking heads on MLB Network made a point to write the Pirates off. Since then, Pittsburgh has won five straight to reclaim its division lead. A four-game series at Washington, starting tonight, will be a measuring stick of sorts considering the troubles the Pirates have had against the Bryce Harper-led Nationals. Jameson Taillon (2-2, 4.91 ERA) will start for Pittsburgh against Tanner Roark (1-2, 3.77).

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Looks like someone ate their Wieties this morning. pic.twitter.com/0JYFY0rcA3

— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 29, 2018
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The "wise guys" jumped on a perceived mistake to correct the opening number quickly as they were more than happy to take a plus price with a scorching-hot Pirates team. According to the MLB odds board, the money-line has moved 20 cents from its opening offering of Washington -130. Since, it has settled down to a more reasonable -110 in most spots. However, I anticipate this number creeping back up some as it looks like ticket count will be in favor of the Nationals come game time. Right now, 61% of all tickets written are on the Nationals, who have had their way with the Pirates.

The total is 7.5 but there are some 8’s out there. If your book doesn’t offer an 8 and you’re looking to play the "under," I recommend waiting it out because it appears as if the ticket count will overwhelmingly favor the "over," which will force bookmakers to hang an 8 at some point.

Taillon has all the tools in the world to be a big-league pitcher -- obvious because he was drafted second overall -- but he hasn’t produced like anticipated (15-13, 4.07) despite an above-average curveball and a fastball that has picked up steam since his Tommy John surgery in 2014.

The problem with Taillon has always been his ability to command the strike zone with his fastball, which would essentially make his curveball more effective. He can be brilliant through the opposition’s order the first time around and then look as if he completely lost his ability to throw a strike the second time through. I still question whether I can rely on Taillon to go deep into a game considering three of his five starts this season have resulted in less than 5.1 innings pitched. My MLB pick in this spot is less a play for the Nationals and more a play against Taillon, who has given up 12 earned runs in his last 5.1 innings.

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