Total is Best Play in Series Opener Between Nationals and Mets

Willie Bee

Thursday, June 15, 2017 12:50 PM UTC

Thursday, Jun. 15, 2017 12:50 PM UTC

A rough homestand has the Washington Nationals looking to get back on track with a road trip that begins as favorites on the MLB odds in New York against the Mets on Thursday.

MLB Season Record: 30-40 (-10.48)

The Washington Nationals have a comfortable lead over the New York Mets in the NL East, but don’t expect the Nats to sit back and relax any as the rivals open a 4-game set in the Big Apple on Thursday. First pitch is set for 7:10 PM (ET) with the contest carried by MLB Network, the mound matchup pitting Gio Gonzalez against Robert Gsellman.

It was originally thought Steven Matz would make tonight’s start, but New York manager Terry Collins decided to give the lefty extra rest after making his season debut last week and keep Gsellman on his regular schedule. That change caused a shift in the wagering numbers, Bookmaker starting the Mets -116 before that money line came around -180 to the Nationals -113 Thursday morning, the total still 8½.


Gsellman A Winner Last 3 Times Out

The Nats travel from DC to New York following a 2-5 homestand that included being swept over the weekend by the Rangers. One of the losses to Texas came after an outstanding effort by Gonzalez, who struck out nine and allowed just a run on three hits in six innings before the bullpen melted down for a 6-3 setback. It was Washington’s fifth loss in his last seven assignments as he prepares to face the Mets in New York for a second time this season. Gonzalez worked into the seventh of a 3-1 Nationals triumph here on April 22, a contest that closed with Washington a slight underdog on the MLB odds.

Gsellman was something of a punching bag in April and May before a short bullpen demotion seemed to turn him around.  He has picked up the dubya in each of the last three starts, coming off 6.2 shutout innings at Atlanta this past Saturday. The 23-year-old didn’t catch the Nationals in either of the previous two series but saw them twice a year ago with great results, working a combined 11.2 innings and allowing only one earned run.


Rivalry Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

Dating back to their days as the Expos, Washington owns a 419-405 advantage over New York throughout the years and has won 10 of the last 15 clashes. The Nationals swept the Mets here in April, but New York won 2 of 3 in Washington a week later. Totals split three ways, 1-1-1 O/U/P, at Citi Field in that earlier series after running 3-7 O/U in 2016.

It should be a beautiful day in Queens, the thermometer around 70° for first pitch, clear skies and a 10-15 mph SSW blow (out to left). Despite the pitchers both showing good recent form, I’ll play contrarian with my free baseball pick on the ‘over’ tonight.

Free MLB Pick: 'Over' 8.5Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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