A sliding Washington squad begins a tough weeklong trip to face the Dodgers and Nationals, Monday's matchup in Los Angeles beginning our coverage and free MLB picks for the series.
Eight weeks remain in the 2015 regular season, and one of the matchups on Monday's baseball betting card certainly qualifies as a potential playoff preview. That is assuming the Washington Nationals can coagulate their feces. Sure you can figure out the unedited version.
The Nationals start a huge trek out west that begins with a stop in Los Angeles to meet the Dodgers. Brett Anderson is scheduled to deliver the game's first pitch at 10:10 PM (ET), Gio Gonzalez opposing him in the double-lefty duel. MLB odds went out with LA sporting -130 chalk, but that moneyline is down to -125 at The Greek on the morning report. The 7 run total is generally favoring the 'over' at offshore sports books.
The Dodgers have won nearly 58% of their lifetime matchups against the Washington franchise, a 267-194 mark including the clubs' only postseason meeting in the 1981 NLCS. They've done even better since the club relocated from Montreal, taking 37 of 62 skirmishes and dominating at Chavez Ravine in that span (21-8).
Los Angeles grabbed two of three in DC when the clubs met just after the all-star break, both Dodgers victories remaining 'under the totals. The 'over' was a winner two out of three last season in LA, reversing what had been a 1-6-1 O/U/P stretch the previous few years.
Nats Hit Road After Losing Homestand
It has been a rough 10 days for Washington (57-53, -7.9 units) as the Nationals hit the road following a 3-4 homestand. They're in a 3-7 rut which started with an embarrassing sweep by the Mets in New York. Even more embarrassing was losing to the Rockies to end the homestand as -270 chalk, the fifth setback in Max Scherzer's last eight starts with the loss pushing the Nats 1½ behind the Mets in the NL East.
While the Nationals are down on the season vs. the MLB odds, baseball bettors are adding cabbage to their bankrolls following Gonzalez. Washington has won 12 of his previous 20 starts for a nice $3.50 on the bottom line, though the last two trips to the mound for Double-G have ended in losses. Gonzalez only allowed three runs in the two outings, but they were short ones totaling less than 10 innings at the Mets and home against the Diamondbacks.
Gonzalez missed the Dodgers when the clubs met about six weeks ago, and is making just his third career appearance on this mound. The other two came since he joined the Nationals, Washington splitting the outcomes while Gonzalez pitched to a 3.75 ERA.
Dodgers Also Flying In From East Coast
The Dodgers arrived back home even later than the Nationals got into town for this series. Los Angeles (62-49, -10.7 units) wrapped up a Keystone State trip on Sunday Night Baseball in Pittsburgh, and it wasn't pretty as the Pirates completed a 3-game sweep with a 13-6 decision. The broom job by the Bucs marked the first time LA was swept at PNC Park, though the Dodgers were able to maintain their 3-game lead in the NL West over a Giants squad that is also slumping.
Anderson is seeking his first win in front of the home fans since before the All-Star Game. The Dodgers are 7-4 in his 11 LA assignments, though his ERA is up a bit toeing this rubber compared to mounds away from home. The Texan is taking on Washington for the very first time, and it's a Nats lineup that is 14-10 against southpaws after dropping Sunday's scrap to Rockies who sent rookie lefthander Yohan Flande to the bump.
A few clouds will occasionally pass overhead this week, but there's no rain in the forecast. It's only going to reach the mid-70s in the 90012 today, much of tonight's tilt played in the upper-60s with a light southwest breeze (out to right). With the cooler temps and cross-country flights on Sunday, I'm getting behind the pitchers with a play on the 'under' for my free MLB pick.
My MLB Pick: Nationals-Dodgers Under 7 (-105)
Season: 70-61-2 (+11.50)