The NL East-leading Washington Nationals and the disappointing Miami Marlins get together Friday in D.C. for one of those old-school baseball customs called a doubleheader. Who or where might we put our money on this pair of games?
For those too young to remember, a doubleheader is when
two baseball teams play two games against each other on the same day. This
some kind of wonderful used to be common in baseball years ago, but greed and
other things have virtually done away with them.
Nationals: The Low-Down
Washington just dropped a series at home to Philadelphia,
avoiding the sweep with a 3-0 victory Thursday. For the series, the Nats scored
a total of five runs.
Going into the weekend, the Nationals, at 62-42, lead the NL
East by 2.5 games over second-place Atlanta, but they now trail Cincinnati by a
game and a half in the battle for the best record in the National League.
Miami, meanwhile, just dropped three of four games in
Atlanta, losing Thursday 6-1. So, the Fish have lost 11 of their last 15 games
to drop to 48-57 on the season, 14.5 games back of Washington in the division
standings and 12 games out of the second NL Wild-Card spot.
Washington welcomed back OF Jayson Werth to the lineup
Thursday, after he missed three months with a broken bone in his wrist.
Over in the other dugout, Miami is now just 7-14 since OF
Giancarlo Stanton went down and out with a knee injury back in early July,
averaging just 2.5 runs per game over that span.
Conversely, the Nats are now 8-3 since SS Ian Desmond went
on the DL with a torn oblique.
The Nats are expected to bring back John Lannan (1-0, 2.57)
from Triple-A to start Friday's first game, then go with Gio Gonzales (13-5,
3.27) in the nightcap, while Miami is slated to throw its own Minor League
call-up, Brad Hand, then Josh Johnson (6-7, 4.04).
In his only start of this season in the Bigs, Lannan gave up
two runs on five hits in seven innings vs. the Braves back on July 21. He's
spent the rest of this season at Syracuse, where he went an unimpressive 6-10
with a 5.24 ERA, allowing 139 hits in 110 innings.
Lannan started three times against the Marlins last year,
giving up nine ER on 16 hits and 10 walks in 17 2/3 innings. Washington lost
all three of those games.
On the other side of this pitching matchup, Hand started 12
games as a Major League rookie last year, going 1-8 with a 4.20 ERA. At
Triple-A New Orleans this season, Hand went 8-5 with a 3.66 ERA, giving up 113
hits in 128 innings and striking out 116.
This will be his first start in the Majors this season.
Last year Hand started twice vs. Washington, allowing four
ER on eight hits and seven walks in 7 2/3 innings.
Gonzalez is 13-for-21 on quality starts this season. In his
most recent outing, Gonzo got goosed for four ER on five hits and five walks in
six innings at Milwaukee Sunday. But just prior to that, he held the Mets
scoreless on two hits through seven innings.
Gonzalez has started once earlier this season vs. Miami,
allowing two runs and five hits in six innings, walking none and striking out
nine three weeks ago.
Johnson is 11-for-21 on quality starts this season, but only
one for his last five. Most recently JJ gave up two runs on just two hits in
five innings vs. San Diego last Sunday, but he walked six guys. Just before
that he held Atlanta scoreless on one hit through six innings, walking none and
whiffing nine. But in his three starts previous to that, he had gotten rocked
for 14 ER on 22 hits over 16 2/3 innings. So we're not sure what to expect of
In his two starts vs. Washington this season, Johnson has
allowed eight ER on 18 hits through 11 1/3 innings.
Johnson's numbers might not be that great, but Miami is 12-9
in his starts this season.
The Nats, meanwhile, are 16-5 in Gonzo's starts.
Friday's Betting Odds
As of Friday AM, MLB odds maker 5Dimes was lining the Nationals at -161 for
Friday's first game, while Bookmaker was offering the Marlins at +158. Most
sportsbooks were listing the total on Game 1 at 8.5.
Early betting on Friday's first game saw almost 70 percent
of play on the side come down on Washington, while 60 percent of the action on
the total was coming in on the 'under.'
For Friday's nightcap 5Dimes was listing the Nats at -143,
while Bookmaker was giving Miami +135. And the total on that second game sat at
Washington is 29-21 at home this season, while Miami is
21-30 on the road.
The Marlins lead the season series with the Nats five games
to four, with the 'over/unders' going 1-6-2, as these games have trended
seriously toward the low-scoring.
Miami, a team that's nine games under .500 overall this
season, is 18-15 vs. left-handed starters. They'll face two of them Friday.
Free MLB Picks for
For Friday's first
game, we'll buck the trend on this season series and go with the OVER 8.5.
Then, for the second game, we like Gonzo, so we'll take Washington minus the