This MLB handicapper warns that as both the Washington Nats and Boston Red Sox were both favored to win their divisions coming into this season, so perhaps tonight's a World Series preview.
Nationals- Red Sox Monday Betting Odds
As of early Monday morning the best price we could find on Boston and Rick Porcello was the -113 offered at Heritage, while Washington and Jordan Zimmerman could be gotten at +106 at Bookmaker. And every book in the market was listing the MLB odds total on today's game at eight runs.
Nats-Sox: Series Set-Up
Boston opened this season by taking two of three games in Philly, and just took two of three games from the Yankees in the Bronx over the weekend. The Sox won 6-5 Friday in 19 innings and 8-4 Saturday, but missed out on the sweep by getting pounded Sunday night 14-4.
Boston starter Clay Buchholz got clipped for seven runs in the first inning Sunday night, and couldn't make it out of the fourth inning. The bullpen then had to throw 4 2/3 more innings, bringing its total for the weekend to 20 1/3 innings.
Boston bats have scored at least six runs in four of their first six games.
Washington began this season by dropping two of three games at home to the Mets, then just dropped two of three over the weekend in Philly. The Nats lost 4-1 on Friday, and 3-2 on Saturday, before avoiding the sweep with a 4-3 extra-innings victory Sunday.
Washington pushed across two runs in the top of the tenth Sunday, then held on in the bottom of the inning, as closer Drew Storen made things interesting by walking the first two batters he faced.
Through their first six games the Nats have scored a total of 13 runs. They're hoping the return of OF Jason Werth from the DL this week will help get the sticks out of their funk.
These two teams last met back in 2012, when the Nats swept three games from the Sox in Boston.
Monday's Starting Pitchers
Zimmermann will be making his second start of this season, after holding the Mets to one run through six innings of a 2-1 Nats victory last Wednesday. Last year, by our tough accounting, Zimmermann posted 21 quality starts out of 32. Washington went 23-9 in Zimmermann's starts, while the totals went 16-13.
Zimmermann last started against Boston back in 2012, a 4-3 Washington win; only two Sox in the lineup that day, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, are likely to be in the lineup today.
Porcello will be making his second start of this season for his new team, after giving up three runs, all on one swing of the bat, through six innings of a 4-2 loss at Philly last Wednesday. Last year Porcello went 21-for-31 on quality starts, but Detroit somehow only went 16-15 in those starts, with the totals going 14-16.
This will be Porcello's first-ever start against Washington.
Washington ranked 10th in the Majors last season in team OPS against right-handed pitching at .709, while Boston ranked 19th against righties at .682. Of course, the Sox lineup Monday afternoon will be a little different, more potent, than the one it trotted out most of last season.
Last year Boston went just 49-64 against right-handed starting pitchers.
Washington, on the other hand, went 68-49 against righties.
Washington is still playing a bit shorthanded at the moment, with both Denard Span and Anthony Rendon on the DL. But Werth hopes to play today.
Meanwhile, Boston RP Koji Uehara is expected to come off the DL and be active for this series. His return would be welcome, after the Sox pen gave up 10 earned runs in 20 1/3 innings over the weekend against the Yankees.
Monday's Betting Ticket
We give Zimmermann the edge in the pitching match-up, but Boston owns the edge with the sticks. Honestly, we can't find a lean on the side for this game. So instead, in thinking these two starting pitchers have good chances at quality starts today, we like the UNDER for our MLB picks.
Free MLB Pick: UNDER at BetOnline