Scherzer, Nationals to Baffle Dodgers Again in Series Opener Friday

Willie Bee

Thursday, May 17, 2018 9:34 PM UTC

Thursday, May. 17, 2018 9:34 PM UTC

Max Scherzer pitches on extra rest – assuming the rain stops in D.C. – when Washington opens a three-game set with Los Angeles as hefty chalk on the MLB odds board.

MLB Friday:Dodgers (17-26 SU, 21-21-1 O/U) vs. Nationals (24-18 SU, 18-22-2 O/U)Free MLB Pick: Nationals -1½Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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Bad weather in the nation’s capital earlier this week could end up being bad news for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who begin a weekend set in Washington on Friday night. The Dodgers were lined up to miss two-time defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer in the set, but thanks to Wednesday’s rainout, they’ll get the Nationals’ ace after he enjoyed some extra rest.

Los Angeles still might miss Scherzer, at least on Friday if not the entire weekend considering the weather forecast. We’ll get back to that and just focus on this rematch of a clash out west four weeks ago. Scherzer (7-1, 1.69) is looking to beat L.A. for a third straight time following disappointing losses in the 2016 playoffs, and will be opposed by Ross Stripling (0-1, 2.20). The chalk line on the MLB odds board landed thick and dusty on Scherzer and the Nats, with 5Dimes listing them -213 in its opener with 7 for the total.

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Outstanding day! #Dodgers pic.twitter.com/qxFKMZFWwH

— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 17, 2018
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Scherzer has 0.94 ERA in Last 3 Regular-Season Starts vs. Dodgers

Stripling is making his fourth start of the season to go with 11 relief outings, and the Dodgers have dropped all three of his previous assignments. He didn’t get much run support or help from his bullpen last Saturday in L.A. when Stripling worked into the sixth and was charged with two runs. This will be his first assignment vs. Washington, having seen them for less than two innings from the bullpen up to now.

Scherzer was a +135 underdog on the odds board when he beat the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw in L.A. last month. He went six, allowing just a run while striking out nine, just one of the eight wins the Nats own in their ace’s nine assignments. Since coming to Washington in 2015, Scherzer is 2-1 with an ERA under 1.00 in 19 innings vs. the Dodgers in the regular season, Yasiel Puig (4-12, 3 XBH) the only L.A. stick to have much success against him.

Rivalry Trends, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

Of course, there are those two losses to the Dodgers in the 2016 ALDS, and both matchups came in D.C. Counting that series and the one at Chavez Ravine earlier, the Dodgers have a 52-33 edge in the rivalry since the old Expos moved to Washington in 2005. The last three series at Nationals Park have gone to the visitors, L.A. backers returning to the pay window 6-of-9 with "over" bettors cashing at the same clip. The only "over" at Dodger Stadium in April was the Scherzer-Kershaw matchup that barely hopped above a 6-run mark.

Friday's rain forecast for Washington is being measured in inches, not percentages, and rain remains in the mix most of the weekend. A run-line play for my free baseball pick worked before with Scherzer, and I’ll try it again on Friday.

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