Tension High as Nationals and Giants Meet Night After Brawl

Jay Pryce

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 1:41 PM UTC

Tuesday, May. 30, 2017 1:41 PM UTC

Tensions will be high when the Nationals and Giants square off in the second of a three-game series at AT&T Park on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET), following a late-inning fight in the opener. Jeff Samardzija and Gio Gonzalez are scheduled to pitch. What's the best bet?

Washington Nationals (31-19)

The Nationals moved to 8-3 vs. NL West opponents this season following a 3-0 victory at San Francisco Monday. The game featured a bench-clearing brawl in the eighth-inning sparked by Bryce Harper charging the mound in retaliation for a Hunter Strickland 98 mph fastball to the hip. Umpires ejected each from the game. They could be available for tonight's contest as MLB continues to review the incident for suspensions and fines.

Gio Gonzalez commands the hill for Manager Dusty Baker. The veteran southpaw is 3-1 with a 2.90 ERA in 10 starts. Gonzalez has not won a decision in his last five starts. He is struggling with his control. The left-hander has issued 21 walks in 28.2 frames during this stretch. He’s also allowed 7 home runs. The Nationals are 1-4 overall, losing three times at -140 odds or higher.

Gonzalez is 4-4 with a 2.94 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 11 career appearances vs. the Giants. San Francisco’s current roster is batting 38-for-150 (.253) lifetime. Only two of these hits have gone yard. Aaron Hill (8-for-21) and former National Denard Span (5-for-16) are the only two out of seven hitters with double-digit plate appearances to bat over .300.

In the last calendar year, the Nationals are just 5-12 SU on the road behind Gonzalez. The number of defeats more than doubles the next nearest starter Tanner Roark (10-5) in this situation. Gonzalez and the bullpen allow 4.88 runs on 8.71 hits per game.


San Francisco Giants (22-31)

Jeff Samardzija takes the pill for skipper Bruce Bochy. Samardzija was lucky to avoid serious injury in Monday's fracas after he and Washington outfielder Michael Morse, each first to reach the fray from the dugouts, clashed heads in a scary collision. Both players are 6-foot-5 and weigh 220-plus, but say they feel fine following the incident.

This is good news for Giants fans. Samardzija has been one of the few bright spots for an otherwise dismal start to the season. Don’t judge the veteran right-hander by his 1-6 record. His strikeouts are up at career-high levels (10.46 per 9 innings) and his 2.90 xFIP is tied with the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw as second lowest among qualifying pitchers in the National League.

Ample run support is plaguing Samardzija’s starts. The Giants, ranking last in MLB in scoring (3.38 per game), cross the plate just 3.00 times per outing. The hot pitching and cool bats have combined to keep the contests 'under' the total in 8 of 10 starts. The 'under,' in fact, is 9-1-1 in Samardizjia’s last 11 appearances at AT&T Park. Either team has scored more than four runs only twice in this span.


Final Analysis

The Nats enter with the best offense in the bigs, averaging 5.54 runs per game. The Giants are 2-5 SU behind Samardzija at home against teams scoring more than 4.5 per contest on the season. The staff has kept opponents to 4 runs or fewer in all but one. Gonzalez and Co., meanwhile, have yielded more than 3 runs to the Giants in five career starts at AT&T Park. Expect a duel in this one. We’ll go against the line movement and wager 'under' 8 as the pick.

Free MLB Pick: 'Under' 8Best Line Offered: BookMaker

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