MLB Baseball Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks at Washington Nationals

MLB Baseball Preview:  Arizona Diamondbacks at Washington Nationals

With NBA basketball and NHL hockey both done for the year the full focus of the sports betting world now shifts to Major League Baseball. There are a few other sports to bet over the next month or so–CFL Canadian Football begins this week, for example–but among the four major North American sports only Major League Baseball is currently underway. In this preview we’ll focus on a National League game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Washington Nationals. Both teams have been somewhat erratic to this point of the season–the Nationals have endured injuries and inconsistent play that has left them 6 games behind the division leading Atlanta Braves. The Diamondbacks are setting the pace–for now–in the NL West, a division that remains wide open for any team to take charge. Only 3.5 games separate the division leading D-Backs from the fourth place San Francisco Giants with Colorado and San Diego also in the mix three games back.

There’s no shortage of similarities in the recent term performance of these two teams which makes it exceedingly hard to handicap a matchup between them. Both the Diamondbacks and Nationals are 11-11 in the month of June and right around .500 in their last 10 games (Washington 5-5, Arizona 4-6). Arizona has been marginally more profitable in most settings this season including on the road but that could have as much to do with higher expectations for the Nationals heading in to the season as anything intrinsic in their quality of play (or lack thereof).

That leaves us with the most salient component of the handicap of this game–the starting pitching matchup. Arizona lefthander Wade Miley has looked good at times this season but overall his performance has been erratic. He’s got a 4.70 ERA overall and the Diamondbacks have lost 8 of his 15 starts. That is in marked contrast to the sensational season that Jordan Zimmerman is having for the Nationals. With Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez both struggling with injuries and poor form this season Zimmerman has become the anchor of this staff–the Nats have won 12 of his 15 starts and the righthander has posted a tidy 2.26 ERA. At home he’s been even better with an ERA of 0.92 and 8 Washington wins in 8 starts. We’ll take Zimmerman–who is on the verge of becoming a dominant MLB starter–at a reasonable price.