MLB Baseball Betting: Pittsburgh Pirates at Washington Nationals

MLB Baseball Betting:  Pittsburgh Pirates at Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals have plenty of issues right now including depth in their starting pitching staff. That all needs to be dealt with but the Pittsburgh Pirates are showing this weekend how nasty the Washington pitching staff can be. On Friday, the Pirates ran into human wrecking ball Stephen Strasburg who ran his record to 13-0. The last time a Major League Baseball pitcher started the season 13-0? Try over 100 years ago. On Sunday, they face Max Scherzer who is actually pitching better than Strasburg at the moment.

Pittsburgh is in a bad spot here. The Chicago Cubs have won three straight and it’s doubtful that they’ll revert to their woeful form of the past three weeks anytime soon. Pittsburgh has to keep winning to keep pace, let alone cut into their nine game deficit. They’ve been playing well (won 7 of 10 pending the outcome of Saturday’s action) but having to face a pair of buzzsaws like Strasburg and Scherzer doesn’t help. Scherzer’s YTD stats are good but not great–the Nationals have won 11 of his 19 starts, including 4 of 7 at home. 3.03 ERA overall, a strong 0.956 WHIP and 164 strikeouts. His last three stats are Cy Young Award worthy–0.44 ERA 0.738 WHIP from 20 1/3 innings pitched, 9 hits, 1 earned run and 26 strikeouts to just 6 walks. The Brewers only won two of those games thanks to an offensive flameout against Milwaukee on 7/4 but that’s definitely not Scherzer’s fault. A pitcher can stay in the Major Leagues for a long time with an ERA of 3.00. Scherzer has allowed an average of three *hits* in his last three games.

Were this a garden variety pitcher, we’d recommend not overreacting to this ‘short sample size’. But Scherzer is one of the best and we’ve seen him do this before. If he gets all of his ‘ducks in a row’ he can go for long stretches being completely unhittable. Washington has a lot of pieces to put into place if they’re going to make a playoff run. The bottom of the rotation is highly pedestrian with Tanner Roark and Joe Ross and lefthander Gio Gonzalez has been awful this year. But you can do a lot worse as a manager than knowing that you’ll give the ball to either Strasburg or Scherzer every two days in their current form.