It has not been a very successful start for the Nationals, who will be trying to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Phillies today. Let's break down the MLB betting odds.
Here is how you know an elite pitcher will be on the mound. The Nationals are approaching -200 on the MLB odds board despite being on the road and enduring a rough start to their season. The Phillies are listed at right around +175 to +185 to get the victory and thus improve to 4-2 on the year.
It'll be Max Scherzer and Sean O'Sullivan trying to outduel one another, and right now the O/U is at seven runs.
Philadelphia Phillies (O'Sullivan)
The Phillies have taken each of the first two games of the series, using some solid pitching and timely hitting to get the job done. Yesterday Philadelphia won in the bottom of the 10th thanks to a walkoff double from Obudel Herrera, with Dustin McGowan getting the credit for the winning decision as a result.
It was a great day overall from the Phillies pitching, as Cole Hamels started things off right by pitching seven innings of quality ball. He allowed only two hits and one run with five strikeouts and one walk in those seven innings of work and was unlucky to get a no decision after such an excellent start.
Needing a fifth starter to fill in for the time being, the Phillies opted to promote Sean O'Sullivan, who has had experience at the highest level. That being said, they haven't been very positive experiences, as he's posted a 5.91 ERA and 1.57 WHIP over his MLB career. Last season he gave up 15 hits and nine runs over just 12.2 innings.
Washington Nationals (Scherzer)
Despite a very solid outing from Doug Fister yesterday, the Nationals bats were once again stifled in a 3-2 loss. Wilson Ramos' solo homer was one of the few highlights, but once again Washington ended up on the losing side. They're now 1-4 on the year.
Sure, injuries have been an issue early, with some big bats still missing from the lineup, and we're still so early on in the season where we fully expect them to figure it out sooner rather than later. Just look at Washington's pitching staff and you'll see why they should be just fine here in 2015.
Whereas the Phillies will turn to little-known O'Sullivan, the Nationals will send out their ace to the mound Max Scherzer. The right-hander went 7 and 2/3 innings in his first start, allowing four hits and three runs, though all three runs were unearned. He also struck out eight while walking two. Scherzer may have been on the losing end in his season debut, but there's a reason he'll lead out the Nationals as huge MLB betting odds chalk this afternoon.
We feel very good about Washington's chances of getting their first win of the series.
The big reason why? The massive pitching mismatch that we'll have on our hands today. Scherzer picked up a loss in his first start, but he still pitched well and he'll be ready to fare even better against the Phillies. Meanwhile, O'Sullivan has a career 5.91 ERA, so it's hard to have much confidence in his ability, even against a shorthanded Washington batting order.
Hopefully the Nationals will be able to string together some hits and get after O'Sullivan, because Scherzer isn't going to need much run support to lock up shop. We believe that'll happen and therefore we will be picking Washington to win on the run line, which will offer a much better return than a straight moneyline selection.
MLB Pick: Washington Nationals -1.5 (-125) at Pinnacle