Pick Nationals to Win SU as Strasburg Looks to Keep Giants Bats Cold Tonight

Mark Lathrop

Thursday, August 13, 2015 12:27 PM UTC

Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015 12:27 PM UTC

Both of these offenses are frigid at the moment; our MLB handicapper analyzes this matchup to see which one has the best chance of coming out of their slump as he makes his Thursday MLB pick.

This matchup features the reigning World Series Champion San Francisco Giants against the consensus pick for the NL participant in the World Series this year, the Washington Nationals. The Nationals season hasn’t gone completely to plan; however, as they find themselves just 58-54 on the season. Yes, that is a winning record, but the pundits had the Nationals running away with the NL East and having a 93 + win season. It was definitely there on paper, as my WAR projected win-loss totals agreed with a 96 win season as well. On paper, the Nationals also have the advantage in this game as they opened as early -126 money line favorites at sites such as BetOnline.

That advantage starts with Nationals pitcher, Stephen Strasburg. Freshly of the DL, Strasburg came back strong with a 12K effort against the Colorado Rockies leading to a 6-1 Nationals win. Having Strasburg out has obviously hampered the Nationals rotation, but the team has had the luxury of getting him completely right before the stretch run to end the season. The former 2009 top draft pick has shown that he can be absolutely dominant when healthy.

On the opposite side of getting a dominant pitcher back healthy is the situation with the Giants. In their case, Ryan Vogelsong gets another spot start in place of injured Mike Leake. Vogelsong lost his place in the starting rotation earlier this year. When looking at his stats, one needs to look no farther than his 81/44 K/BB rate to find out why. In 2015, Vogelsong has posted his worst BB/9 rate since 2006 with the Pirates, a season in which he ended with a 6.39 ERA. The effort has resulted in a -0.4 WAR for Vogelsong in his 105.2 IP.

The Nationals will be happy to see Vogelsong on the mound after facing Zach Greinke and Clayton Kershaw over the past two days. The Nationals were shut out in both of those games. The Giants offense has been just as cold, and has been shut out in 2 of their last three games. In this case, only the Nationals have a history that would indicate they could bust out of their slump. Washington batters Bryce Harper, Ian Desmond, and Jayson Werth all have batting averages at .300 or better against Vogelsong. Nationals starter, Stephen Strasburg, has a 1.89 ERA over three starts against the Giants at AT&T Park.

The MLB Pick: This would be a case of recent form masking the true value of a matchup. With the Nationals having a distinct pitching edge in this game, the money line can now be found as low as -118 at BetOnline. Recent form of both of these offenses is also affecting the O/U total, which sits at 7 at multiple books. Even though each of these starters has an ERA in the mid-4’s, the line is moving towards 6.5 as far as the juice is concerned. With no public data available, I’m finally going to trust my gut in this one, which might be the best idea after my data driven picks have underperformed lately. I’m taking the superior pitching in this game, and grabbing the Nationals early at -120 on the money line at Pinnacle as my Thursday MLB Pick.

MLB Pick: Nationals -120 at Pinnacle

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