Division leaders clash as Washington and the Dodgers open a three-game series in DC Friday night. The banged-up Nats are short betting favorites, but this handicapper finds value with the dog.
Dodgers-Nats Friday Betting Odds
As of early Friday morning the best line we could find on Washington and Jordan Zimmerman was the -111 offered at BetOnline, while Los Angeles and Mike Bolsinger could be found getting +112 at BookMaker.
Just before the All-Star break Washington took two of three games in Baltimore, winning Sunday 3-2. But just before that the Nats had been swept two games by Cincinnati, so they're 2-2 over their last four series. And yet, at 48-39 Washington leads the NL East by two games over the second-place Mets.
Meanwhile, just before the break LA took two of three games from Milwaukee, rallying late for both victories. Just before that the Dodgers took three of four from Philly. At 51-39 Los Angeles leads the NL West by 4.5 games over second-place San Francisco.
This is the first meeting between these potential playoff foes this season; last season the Nats took four of six games from the Dodgers.
Friday's Pitching Match-Up
Zimmerman (8-5, 3.22) is 13-for-18 on quality starts this season, and four for his last five. Last Saturday he gave up four runs in five innings against Baltimore Orioles, but over his four previous starts he gave up just four runs through 29 2/3 innings. On the season Zimmy has allowed more hits, 120, than innings pitched, 112, walked just 20 and struck out 81. Washington is 11-7 in Zimmerman's starts, with the OVERS going 10-8.
Zimmerman started twice against Los Angeles last year, allowing two runs and nine hits through 10 1/3 innings; the Nats won both those games.
Bolsinger (4-3, 3.08) is only five-for-13 on quality starts this year, but that's partly because of a short leash. Last Friday he held Milwaukee to two runs through six innings, but that was the first time in six starts he'd gone that far. On the season Bolsinger has allowed fewer hits, 66, than innings pitched, 73, walked 25 and struck out 69. The Dodgers are 7-6 in Bolsinger's starts, with the UNDERS going 7-6.
This will be Bolsinger's first-ever start against Washington, which could give him an edge, at least for the first couple of times through the lineup.
Friday's Batting Splits
Los Angeles ranks 17th this season against right-handed pitching with a .253 team batting average, but second with a .331 team on-base percentage.
Washington ranks 13th against righties with a .256 average and 13th with a .320 team OBP.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Nationals Park this season are 22-18 on the UNDERS, averaging 7.0 runs per.
Washington, to say the least, is a little banged up at the moment, with lead-off hitter Denard Span, IFs Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman and OF Jayson Werth, among others, all on the DL. We can't help but believe their combined absences will take a toll.
Friday Free Picks
We'll give Zimmerman a short edge in the pitching match-up, but that's wiped out by all those Washington injuries. If Bolsinger can give five or six good innings we like LA's chances. Also, our guess is runs might be a little hard to come by tonight, so we're thinking UNDER.