MLB Baseball Betting: Cincinnati Reds at Washington Nationals

MLB Baseball Betting:  Cincinnati Reds at Washington Nationals

Interesting matchup here as the swooning Cincinnati Reds take on the NL East leading Washington Nationals. The Reds scrapped out a 3-2 victory in the first game of this series but they’ve still lost 7 of 10. Washington has won 9 of 13 despite the loss and holds a 3.5 game lead over the New York Mets and a 5 game lead over the Atlanta Braves. The entire division is essentially ‘treading water’ at the moment which is good news for the Nationals. Cincinnati is in fourth place in the NL Central and facing the prospect of dropping into last place. That’s something that seemed completely improbable a month ago but that was before the Milwaukee Brewers caught fire. Milwaukee is still in last place but they’ve won 8 of 10 and have narrowed the Reds’ advantage to 3 games.

The starting pitchers would present a good duel in any circumstance–Johnny Cueto will go for the Reds and the Nationals will send their ace–acquired via free agency in the offseason–as Max Scherzer takes the mound. Scherzer has been in excellent form lately posting a 1.42 ERA in his last three games. Cueto is the Reds’ best pitcher and has put up capable numbers on a bad team. There is a compelling subtext in this storyline as well–this might be Cueto’s last start for the Reds. In any case, he’s not expected to be around long. He’s in the final year of his contract and the Reds don’t want to break the bank to resign him. There’s every reason to think that he’ll be ‘rented’ by a contending team for the rest of the season and then hit the open market.

Cueto is a good–if not particularly durable–pitcher and he’ll be an asset to a team that has a chance to play in the postseason (KC or the Chicago Cubs might be a good fit). But while this could be an opportunity to ‘showcase his skills’ just don’t like his team well enough to go against the Nationals. They’ve got a spate of injuries at the moment but have managed to keep winning despite them. With Scherzer on the hill we’ll lay the price with the home team.