The Nationals have opened up their current 10-game road trip with five victories, but are still getting no respect in the betting market. Let’s find out if you should back the team with baseball’s best record in the desert on Saturday night.
Nationals have compiled a major league-best 38-21 record on the road, which
includes a dominating 9-1 series-opening win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on
Friday night at Chase Field. Baseball fans need to start thinking of the
Nationals as serious World Series contenders, considering they are the only
team that has played winning baseball every month this season.
Jackson warms up with
pitcher Edwin Jackson (6-7, 3.56 ERA) has a great chance to improve upon his
3-3 record and 3.63 ERA in 12 road starts, as he’s enjoyed great success in
August over the course of his career. The right-hander is 16-7 with a
3.11 ERA in 32 career games (30 starts) during this particular month. In
six appearances (five starts) versus the Diamondbacks, Jackson has registered a
1-2 mark and 3.90 ERA, which includes leading the team to a 5-4 home win in
this series on May 2 in a no-decision effort (6 IP, 4 ER).
Wade Miley (12-7, 2.85
ERA) has watched the Diamondbacks alternate wins and losses over his last four
outings, coming off a 4-0 road defeat to the Pittsburgh Pirates in his last
start. The left-hander is 7-3 with a 2.76 ERA in 11 home appearances
(nine starts), issuing 13 walks and striking out 50 batters in 65.1 combined
innings. Miley earned an 8-1 road victory over the Nationals in his
second career start on Aug. 25 of last year, scattering five hits over six
Could the betting odds
signal a trap?
I was a bit surprised
that baseball odds makers opened the Diamondbacks as -135 home favorites in this contest, but not
shocked due to Miley’s current numbers. Sports bettors will find that the
Nationals are 8-6 as a road underdog of +100 to +125, while tonight’s host has
won seven of 12 games as a home favorite of -125 to -150. There’s
absolutely no edge on either side from a technical standpoint in this matchup.
The long ball may tell
Both Jackson and Miley
have been susceptible to giving up the long ball this year, which could play an
important role in the second game of this NL series, considering the Nationals
(125) and Diamondbacks (120) rank 11th and 15th respectively in hitting home
runs as a team offensively.
Bullpen battle favors
The Nationals bullpen
has registered a 1.64 ERA over the last 10 games, which signals to me that the
group has adjusted to their roles with last year’s closer Drew Storen returning
from injury on July 23 and fitting in well as the setup man. Arizona’s
group has faltered a bit in compiling a 5.25 ERA over the same span.
In what figures to be
a highly-contested game, I recommend backing the Nationals due to their 11-4
record in one-run games in this series. It’s also important to note that
Washington hasn’t lost a series in Phoenix since 2008.
MLB Pick: Washington