MLB Baseball Betting: Pittsburgh Pirates at Washington Nationals

MLB Baseball Betting:  Pittsburgh Pirates at Washington Nationals

Two second place teams in their respective divisions will go at it on Saturday as the Pittsburgh Pirates travel to take on the Washington Nationals. The Pirates are currently holding down second place in the NL Central but are starting to reel in the division leading St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards lead by three games heading into Saturday’s action but the Pirates are in better form having won 8 of their last 10 and 13 of 17 in the month of June. The Nationals are just two games over .500 but that leaves them 1.5 games back of the NL East leading New York Mets. Washington has been ‘treading water’ of late going 5-5 in their last 10 games.

Pittsburgh will go with lefthander Francisco Liriano in this matchup. Liriano has pitched well this season but hasn’t been getting a lot of breaks. The Pirates are just 4-9 when he starts and just 2-4 on the road. Liriano’s ERA, however, is a decent 2.94 overall and a tidy 1.52 on the road. Pittsburgh has won two of his last three starts with Liriano posting a 1.54 ERA. He’ll be countered by offseason free agent pickup Max Scherzer. Scherzer has pitched well overall with a 1.93 ERA but he’s just 2.68 at home.

Washington hits left handed pitching reasonably well, averaging 4.5 runs per game against southpaws and winning 9 of 14 starts this season. Pittsburgh is just one game over .500 on the road this season and last night’s defeat ended a 7 game winning streak. That being said, they’ve played very well in the month of June and they’ve demonstrated themselves to be a streaky team over the past few seasons. Washington was expected to dominate the NL East heading into this year thanks to a wicked pitching staff but so far they’ve underachieved.

Scherzer’s ‘brand name’ is such that he’s almost always overvalued when he pitches and particularly relative to his recent form. Washington is dealing with a ton of injuries at at the moment–they’re hoping to get Bryce Harper back soon but he didn’t play last night as he recovers from a hamstring injury. Pittsburgh is playing well now so at the price we’ll back the road underdog.