The Washington Nationals have taken the first three games of a four-game series in Houston, each by one run. Can the Nats complete the sweep Thursday, or can the Astros salvage one game? And who do we like for a cash play?
Nats-'Stros – The
Washington won the opener of this series Monday 5-4 in 11
innings; the Nationals then won Tuesday 3-2 in 12 innings; then Wednesday they
The Nationals now lead the season series with Houston six
games to one.
The Nats have won five games in a row; the Astros, on the
other hand, are 2-20 over their last 22 games.
So Washington, at a ML-best 68-43, owns a four-game lead
over Atlanta in the NL East, and it's two games up on NL Central-leading
Cincinnati in the battle for the best record in the National League.
Houston, meanwhile, at 36-76, is trying to avoid ending up
with the worst record in the Majors for the second straight season.
Jordan Zimmerman (8-6, 2.45) gets the start in Thursday's
series finale for Washington against Lucas Harrell (9-7, 3.98) for Houston.
Zimmerman ranks among the best in baseball with 17 quality
starts out of 22 tries. His last time out he gave up four runs on seven hits in
five innings vs. Miami, which broke a string of 11 straight quality outings.
During the month of July Big Z allowed just four ER through 37 innings, walked
four and struck out 31. We're left wondering how the hell this guy only has
eight victories to his credit.
In his one start this year against the Astros back in April
Zimmerman got a win, giving up just one run on four hits through seven innings
of a 3-2 Nationals victory.
Harrell, meanwhile, is 9-for-22 on quality starts this
season, and three for his last four. His last time out he held the Braves to
two runs through six innings, although he did walk five. And over his last five
outings he's allowed seven ER through 30 2/3 innings, although he's walked 16
guys over that span.
In his one start this year against Washington Harrell gave up
one run on four hits through 6 2/3 innings in that same game Zimmerman threw
back in April.
The Nats are 14-8 in Zimmerman's starts this year, while the
Astros are 9-13 in Harrell's starts. Also, during Houston's current 2-20 slide
Harrell owns both those wins.
Odds and Trends
As of Thursday morning the best price we could find on
Washington was the -162 offered at Matchbook, while Houston could be gotten at
+160 at a couple of different baseball betting outlets.
The Nationals could also be played at +110 on the run line
And most online sportsbooks are listing the total on
Thursday's game at 7.5.
In early betting on Thursday's game almost 70 percent of
play on the side has come down, not surprisingly, on Washington, while about 55
percent of MLB picks on the total has come in on the 'under.'
Free MLB Pick
Washington with our man Zimmerman is the obvious pick here.
And being the gamblers that we are we'll take the Nats giving the run and a
half on the run line.