Scherzer Makes Nationals The Run Line Value MLB Pick vs. Phillies

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, June 1, 2016 5:00 PM GMT

We do not play run line MLB picks very often, but we feel we have found one with value when Max Scherzer and the Nationals visit Adam Morgan and the Phillies Wednesday night.

 

An apparent pitching mismatch could be providing very good run line value Wednesday night when right-hander Max Scherzer and the first place Washington Nationals (32-21, 17-10 away) pay a visit to southpaw Adam Morgan and the reeling Philadelphia Phillies (26-26, 13-11 home) as the teams wrap up a three-game series from Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA at 7:05 ET in a game available on MASN2.

The run line at Heritage Sports has Washington as a road favorite for this contest with the current line at -1½ on the MLB odds board at odds of -130.

 

Teams Heading in Opposite Directions
The Nationals now have a two-game lead over the second place New York Mets in the National League East thanks to being victorious in three straight games including the first two games of this series, as Washington prevailed 4-3 in the series opener behind Tanner Roark on Monday and then 5-1 last night behind seven strong innings from Joe Ross.

The Phillies were the biggest surprise in baseball this early season and they are still right at .500 after 52 games after finishing with the worst record in the Major Leagues last year at 63-99. However Philadelphia is coming back down to earth as the losing MLB pick in five straight games and seven of the last eight, and the early season success was even more of a mirage considering the Phillies’ run differential this year of -48 runs!

Scherzer Off of Rare Bad Outing
Scherzer comes off of a rough outing vs. the St. Louis Cardinals where he was charged with five earned runs allowed in seven innings despite allowing only three hits, as the uncharacteristic four walks that he issued did not help his cause. He had been brilliant in his previous three starts though allowing a total of six runs in 23.1 innings with 38 strikeouts vs. three walks, including a record-tying 20 strikeouts vs. the Detroit Tigers.

Sure Scherzer still has an unusual 4.05 ERA, but that is deceptive considering his 1.09 WHIP and 90 strikeouts in 73.1 innings vs. just 22 walks. Thus, the four walks last time out was an aberration and Scherzer ranks third in the Major Leagues with his 11.05 strikeouts per nine innings. He now has a chance to turn in a truly dominant performance tonight vs. a Philadelphia offense ranked dead last in the Major Leagues in runs scored with just 3.15 per game.

And Scherzer has certainly had success vs. the Phillies in the past going 5-1 lifetime against them with a 2.38 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 56 strikeouts vs. only10 walks in 53 innings.

 

Rough Slump for Morgan
Morgan may not be long for the Philadelphia rotation as he is 1-3 with a 6.67 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in six starts thanks to recent outings where he allowed seven earned runs in 3.2 inning vs. the Cincinnati Reds and six earned runs in four innings vs. the Chicago Cubs, both within his last three starts. Thus, with such a pitching mismatch, it is not surprising that Washington opened as a -200 road favorite and those odds have only gone up since.

There is a sense that Moran could be pitching for his job after manager Pete Mackanin responded that “Nobody’s solid in their spots” when asked directly about Morgan’s status, and worst of all there is really nothing that suggests that Morgan could turn things around tonight. After all, this is a guy that is striking out just 5.46 batters per nine innings vs. 3.03 walks, and most of his pitches have been hit in the air as he has a miniscule 35.3 percent groundball rate.

The southpaw must now contend with a Washington lineup that is batting .263 and averaging 5.38 runs vs. left-handed pitchers overall this season.

 

Usually Win by Multiple Runs in Philadelphia
Finally, not only are the Nationals 7-1 in the eight head-to-head meetings between these teams here in Philadelphia overall, but five of those seven wins were by at least two runs and this could be a bigger pitching mismatch than any of those meetings.

With that in mind and with the Nationals installed as prohibitive favorites on the money line here, we recommend going for the value and backing Washington on the -1½ run line at a more reasonable price when visiting Philadelphia for the series finale on Wednesday.

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MLB Pick: Nationals -1½ -130
Best Line Offered: at Intertops
MLB Record: 30-30-1, +3.38