The season is slowly starting to slip away from the Nationals who end a long road trip in Colorado this week. Join us for previews and a free baseball pick.
One team is a game under .500 and the other is 20 below par, yet both have cost baseball bettors the same amount of coin in 2015. That should give you a good idea just how disappointing of a season it has been for the Washington Nationals as they prepare to open a 3-game series in Colorado against the Rockies.
Washington will try and end a losing streak in the series opener which is set for an 8:40 PM (ET) first pitch in Denver. The Nationals send Jordan Zimmermann to the mound opposite David Hale, Washington drawing some hefty road chalk with a -158 price at 5Dimes. MLB odds for the match also include a 10 run total that is down half a run from the opener.
The Rockies will be trying to pick up their 100th victory all-time against the Expos/Nats. Colorado took two of three in DC less than two weeks ago to give the Rocks three victories in the last four matchups with Washington. Two of those went 'over' the baseball odds which split three ways (1-1-1 O/U/P) at Coors Field last year, the push on a 10 run scoreboard tally.
Nats Have Faced Tough Pitchers On Current Road Trip
Winning on the road since the all-star break has been a huge problem for Washington (58-59, -13.5 units). The Nationals are wrapping up their second long trip of the second half with this stop in Denver, dragging a 6-game skid into town following a 4-game sweep in San Francisco over the weekend, and a woeful 4-13 away from the nation's capital with only one road series win in that stretch.
The good news is the Nats will be at home for 19 of their next 22 games after this series; the bad news is they've fallen 4.5 games behind the New York Mets in the NL East race and 9.5 out in the race for the National League Wild Card invites. Offense has been a problem during the current losing streak, Washington blanked in three of the six setbacks. The Nationals were facing some of the league's best hurlers in those games, as Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner were on the hill in the shutouts.
A lack of support has definitely been an issue for Zimmermann while the team has dropped his last four assignments, Washington scoring seven runs in those games. A meltdown by former closer Drew Storen was the big reason Zimmermann failed to get the win against the Rockies a couple of weeks ago, however. He pitched into the seventh having allowed just one run at Nationals Park on August 7, whiffing a season-high nine in the outing. This will be his fifth career start at Coors Field, Zimmermann pitching to a 3.73 ERA in the previous four with Washington splitting the decisions.
Hale Returns From DL To Make Tuesday Start
Colorado (48-68, -13.5 units) just halted its own 6-game losing streak with a rare shutout at Coors on Sunday. Chris Rusin authored the 5-0 whitewashing of the Padres to end the skid after the Rockies were themselves blanked during the streak by a couple of fine arms belonging to the New York Mets, Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom. Even with the recent string of losses, Colorado (23-19) has actually been playing better ball than Washington (12-21) since just prior to the All-Star Game.
Hale is returning from the DL for the first time since a shortened July 9 assignment vs. the Braves, a strained groin forcing him to shut things down. Hale made three rehab starts down on the farm to work his way back from the injury, and wasn't particularly impressive in any of them. Tuesday will be his first career start vs. the Nationals, his only previous experience coming in a couple of scoreless relief outings, and Colorado is 2-3 in his five home assignments in 2015 while the Princeton grad posted a 5.52 ERA.
A sunny beginning to the day gives way to some clouds and a slight chance of rain this evening in Denver, temps in the mid-60s at game time and a northeast breeze (in from right). I just think this price is too high on a struggling Washington team, so let's go with the home 'dogs for our free MLB pick.
My MLB Pick: Rockies +148 at 5Dimes