Washington Nationals at San Diego Padres MLB Pick
The Washington Nationals are in San Diego for game four of a four game series against the struggling Padres. The Nationals took game one 2-1, behind a strong outing from starting pitcher Edwin Jackson. Jackson put in seven strong innings of work, giving up only one run in the win. Game two also went the Nationals way as they took it 7-1. Washington lost that game’s projected starter, Max Scherzer, to the disabled list before the game, but was able to knock around Padres starter Luis Perdomo and won easily. The Padres were able to salvage game three by scoring two runs in the first inning and hanging on for a 3-1 victory last night. First pitch is scheduled for 1:40 PM PST from Petco Park in San Diego, California.
The Washington Nationals have a very good team. They have an elite offense that is ranked in the top three in all of baseball in runs scored, batting average, on base percentage, and slugging. Their starting pitching is also fantastic with Max Scherzer, Steven Strasburg, and Gio Gonzalez heading a ferocious rotation. The one thing that they were missing was a solid bullpen.
The Nationals bullpen is currently ranked 29th in the Major Leagues in ERA, they haven’t been good all year. However, at the trade deadline they made several moves to bolster the ‘pen, and since that day their bullpen problems have gone away. At the deadline, they made moves for several relievers including Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson from the Oakland Athletics and Brandon Kintzler from the Minnesota Twins.
All three have been lights out in their time with the Nationals. Madson? All he has done is pitch nine innings in nine appearances and hasn’t given up a single earned run. Doolittle? He has assumed the closer role in Washington and has already racked up ten saves in just over a month, with an ERA of just 2.57. Kintzler? Some were worried how well he would react to not getting the closer spot even though he was leading the American League in saves when he was traded. Those worries are gone as Kintzler has appeared in nine games and is 2-0 with an ERA of just 1.00.
You couldn’t ask for better bullpen help and for my money I think the Nationals are the second-best team in the Majors, right behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. If you don’t think the Nationals are completely legit title contenders at this point, you are crazy. They hit well, they have a great rotation, and now they have an elite bullpen to close out games. If they get healthy, currently Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer are banged up, and Steven Strasburg is just coming back from an injury, they are going to win a lot of games and will give the Dodgers all they can handle in the National League.
Today’s starter Gio Gonzalez has been red hot recently. His last three starts he is 3-0 and has pitched twenty-one innings and given up only one run. He might be pitching better than any pitcher in the majors right now. The Nationals have lost Scherzer and Strasburg both at times this season and Gonzalez has been that rock they could lean on all season long. I expect Gonzalez to mow through this embarrassment of an offense in San Diego.
I would talk a little about San Diego but what really is there to say? They suck, they have sucked all year, and they suck right now. They knew they would be bad coming into the season and haven’t disappointed. Their 54 wins is amongst the lowest in the Majors.
Today’s starter, rookie Dinelson Lamet, has been decent recently, winning his last four decisions. But even then, he hasn’t really been very impressive. Those four wins came against Philly, San Fran, and Pittsburg twice, not exactly the best competition. And he hasn’t even been very good either, going six innings or less in three of those four wins. It is impressive stuff for a rookie, even if it is against weak teams. But tonight, he isn’t against a weak team. He is facing off against one of the best offensive teams in the league and one of the hottest starters in all the land, to say he is outmatched would be an understatement.
The Nationals are a much, much better team than the San Diego Padres. Yes, it is a day game after a night game on a long road trip, yes Bryce Harper is hurt and won’t play, I get all that. But there is no world where the Nationals shouldn’t be major favorites in this game. Gonzalez is at the top of his game right now, and I see the Nationals winning this one with ease. At -108 this is one of the weaker lines I can remember in recent history, I would like Gio at -180 in this one, so I love him at -108. Give me the Nationals today in San Diego.