The Washington Nationals will be a popular MLB pick to advance past the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS, as they’ll use a similar formula to what their opponents used in capturing a pair of World Series rings.
San Francisco has won its last seven postseason elimination games, which is important to remember when making your game-by-game picks in this best-of-five series, as it picked up a 8-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Wild Card Game Wednesday.
The Giants are going to have a difficult time producing runs in this matchup without the services of leadoff batter Angel Pagan, as they face a team that compiled the best ERA (3.03) in baseball this year.
It’s important to point out that the franchise put together a 74-13 record when scoring four or more runs dating back to the start of the regular season, while Washington has captured 74 of 85 games when reaching that number.
Read our Dodgers vs. Cardinals NLDS Picks & Predictions to see who we expect to advance.
Stack of Aces
Washington has the best overall starting rotation in the Senior Circuit, which will have many experts comparing it to what San Francisco had in winning the 2010 and 2012 World Series.
The Nationals have three of the best right-handers in the league with Doug Fister, Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann, while also having a talented southpaw in Gio Gonzalez available.
Given all the attention that this group will receive, I recommend not looking past the club’s bullpen—a unit that finished the regular season with a stellar 3.00 ERA.
Can Hudson Rise to the Occasion?
The Giants are going to have a hard time winning the series opener due to Jake Peavy’s 0-3 record and 9.27 ERA in five career postseason starts, which will likely place a lot of pressure on projected Game 2 starter Tim Hudson.
The veteran is coming off an absolutely dreadful September, but he’s put together a dominating 18-5 record and 2.35 ERA in his career against the Nationals.
If Hudson puts together a solid outing and comes out of it healthy—don’t be surprised if he takes the mound in a decisive Game 5.
Top of the Lineup
If Denard Span and Anthony Rendon are able to get on base as top-of-the-order guys, the Nationals should have no trouble moving past the Giants, as that will allow the rest of the lineup to relax and not think about hitting home runs.
Washington finished fifth in the NL in hitting .253 as a team, while it scored 41 runs in winning five of seven meetings against San Francisco in the regular season.
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Nationals as one of their MLB picks to advance past the Giants, as they simply have more weapons on their pitching staff.
Free MLB Pick: Washington Nationals to win the series