The Washington Nationals are hosting the San Diego Padres tonight in Major League Baseball action. The game is scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. start time and it will be televised live in both markets. Currently the odds for the game have the Nationals favored to pick up the win at home.
Washington has been free-falling in the standings, much to the benefit of the New York Mets. The Nats find themselves 5.5 games behind those Metropolitans, and that is going to be the only chance they have at the post season, thanks to the National League Central.
If the Nationals can't run down the Mets they won't be in the post season, making them one of the most disappointing teams in the league. Washington has the payroll, the superstars but no consistency. This series against the ailing Padres is a must-sweep for them to feel like they have a legitimate shot of turning this around. That's going to be difficult, of course, as the Padres are only a single win behind the Nationals.
James Shields against Stephen Strasburg is a very nice pitching matchup for this one, even if neither has amazing numbers so far this year. Shields comes in 9-5, 3.74 ERA while Strasburg is 7-6, 4.22 himself.
Current Nats are hitting .176 against Shields in 91 at bats. Nobody has homered, but Bryce Harper has not faced him either. Yunel Escobar leads the way with six hits, but in 29 at bats.
Current Padres are hitting .229 against Strasburg in 105 at bats. Justin Upton and Melvin Upton Jr. both have two home runs against him, Alexi Amarista and Clint Barmes have gone deep as well. Strasburg does have 36 strikeouts against them as well.
In one start against the Padres this season Strasburg picked up the win, allowing three earned runs over five innings with seven strikeouts. This should be a solid matchup between a couple of struggling teams, but let's back the Nationals lineup that has scored 34 runs in winning four of their last six games overall.
Free Pick: Nationals
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