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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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MLB Wednesday Washington Nationals at San Francisco Giants Preview: Start Time, Odds, Free Pick


Wednesday afternoon baseball and we will see the Washington Nationals take on the San Francisco Giants in game 3 of their 3 game series from San Francisco. The game is scheduled for a 3:45 (ET) pm start time and it will be televised live on MASN2 (Washington) and CSNBA (San Francisco) . Currently the odds have Washington favored at -120while San Francisco is dogs of +113. The total for the game sits at 6.5 runs.

Free Analysis: Thanks to Tim Lincecum’s struggles this season, his matchup with Stephen Strasburg in Wednesday’s series finale has lost some of its luster. However, Lincecum’s recent outings suggest he may be up for the challenge when the Giants look to win the three-game series. San Francisco responded from its 14-2 loss in the series opener by snapping a four-game losing streak to Washington on Tuesday with a 6-1 win. The Giants remained tied with the Dodgers atop the National League West, while the Nationals lead Atlanta by 4 1/2 games in the NL East. Lincecum (6-12, 5.35 ERA) has endured the worst season of his career but his last three starts have shown that the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner could finish on a positive note. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA over those games and the lone defeat was a 3-0 loss to Colorado on Friday. Lincecum, who is 3-2 with a 2.72 ERA in six second-half starts, allowed three runs over seven innings in that game. He's gone at least six innings and allowed three or fewer runs over three consecutive starts for the first time this season. Lincecum hasn't had many quality performances over his last four games against the Nationals, going 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA. He gave up a career-high eight runs over 3 1-3 innings in a 9-3 defeat in Washington on July 3. Stephen Strasburg (13-5, 2.90) will try to help his team end the series on a positive note by winning his third consecutive start. The Nationals (72-45) could use another strong outing from their right-hander, who might have to miss some games as his team attempts to limit his innings following a recovery from Tommy John surgery. Strasburg could make that decision a tough one as he's allowed one run and four hits over 12 innings this month. The latest of those two outings was a 9-1 victory in Arizona on Friday. The right-hander won his only start against San Francisco on July 9, 2010, giving up a solo homer and two other hits over six innings while striking out eight. For the first time all season, the Giants appear to have settled on an everyday lineup, which became complete on Tuesday when third baseman Pablo Sandoval (hamstring) made his first start since July 24. Hunter Pence’s arrival has stabilized the outfield, and Brandon Belt has gone 15-for-30 in his past nine games to take hold of first base. The Nationals hope to have outfielder Mike Morse back for the series finale after he sat out Tuesday with inflammation in his right thumb. Washington is also eager to get shortstop Ian Desmond (oblique) back from the disabled list Friday, although infielder Steve Lombardozzi has performed well in his absence. The Nats are a major league best 40-23 on the road this year.

Free Pick: We will go with the Over in this one. I know that Tim has pitched well this year, but even in his best days as a San Fran starter he has struggled with this team, posting a 7.52 ERA in his last 5 starts vs them, with 9 or more runs being scored in 4 of the 5 games. Both of his last 2 starts here vs them there has been at least 9 runs scored and he has allowed 10 ER's in 9.2 innings over the two starts.  The Nats offense has been getting better this year and they did score 14 runs in game 1 of this series. Washington scores 4.7 rpg on the road, but have put up 5.7 rpg in the first 9 games of this trip so far. The San Fran offense has troubles scoring at home, where they average just 3.4 rpg, but they are getting healthy and have put up 6.5 rpg in their last 4 here. Overall the San Fran offense is coming together as they have averaged a very nice 5.6 rpg in their last 10 games. Strasburg is tough and has a 2.41 ERA on the road, but we also know that he will be in their for no more than 6 innings and the Nats pen has a 3.22 ERA on the road.  Both offenses are hot and should be able to at least grab 3 runs each vs these starters/ pens. Look for 8+ in this one.

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