MLB Expert Picks: Nationals vs Cardinals 07/02/17

MLB Picks and Parlays: St Louis Looks to Complete Sweep of Washington on Sunday Night Baseball

by Matt Cash @MattCashCapper

Vegas Odds by Bovada
Nationals  -135
Cardinals O/U 7½

Max Scherzer

Washington Nationals and St Louis Cardinals fought a heck of a pitcher’s duel on Saturday with the Cardinals prevailing in the end, 2-1.

Michael Wacha was sharp, pitching six scoreless innings for the win and the bullpen held on, yielding one run in the bottom of the ninth as they preserved the win.

Gio Gonzalez took the loss, but he also pitched a brilliant game allowing just two hits and two walks and nine strike outs over seven innings of work.

It was an unlikely hero who propelled St Louis to their sixth win in the last seven games. Alex Mejia was playing in just his third game in the Majors and had three at bats. But he got his first two career hits in this one, an RBI single in the second and the game winning home run in the eighth.

The loss narrowed the Nationals lead to 7.5 games over the Braves who have now won two straight. The win brought St Louis within a half game of Chicago for second in the NL Central and they remain 3.5 back of Milwaukee for the division lead.

Washington has now lost three in a row and five out of seven games. This was the National League’s best team through the first two months of the season, but they are just 10-14 in their last 24 games.

St Louis appears to be heating up again after a cold stretch that started in the middle of May which dropped them from the division lead, to stuck in third place. It’s got to be a confidence booster that the last four wins have come against two of the best teams in the NL in Arizona and Washington. What’s more, the pitching staff which had a rough June with a 4.56 ERA has held the league best offense to two runs scored in the first two games of this series.

Max Scherzer (9-5, 2.06 ERA) has been one of the best pitchers in the Majors this year and has been on a real roll for the last six weeks. His ERA has dropped from 3.02 on May 20th to 2.05 as he’s allowed just six earned runs in his last seven starts spanning 53 innings (approximately 7.2 innings per start).  The Nationals are 5-2 in those games.

Carlos Martinez (6-6, 2.88 ERA) has been excellent as well this year and his ERA has dropped from 3.88 on May 13th to its current 2.88. He’s thrown quality starts (6 innings, three earned runs or less) in 11 of his past 12 games. He’s given up five runs in his last 27 innings spanning four starts. St Louis however is just 2-3 in his last five appearances with eight runs scored in the losses.

 

Cash It In: Washington are -135 favorites, St Louis +115 underdogs. The Nationals offense has struggled in this series and now they face another fine starter. But Scherzer has been practically unhittable of late. That narrow pitching edge should be just enough in this one. Nationals 3-2.

MLB Expert Picks and Parlays: Nationals -135  &  Under 7½

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