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An Intriguing N.L. Battle Emerges This Weekend

Posted by Dale "Skip" Lalonde on 5/2/2013 7:28:47 PM

In the course of a Major League Baseball season, you’re going to find several fascinating intersections between and among teams. Washington-Pittsburgh fits the bill right now.

Series Preview: Washington Nationals @ Pittsburgh Pirates
Game 1 – Friday, May 3

Sport betting lines will probably favor the Nationals in the first installment of this weekend set in Pittsburgh. Ross Detwiler is the starting pitcher for Washington in this game, and he is – according to the raw numbers – the hottest starting pitcher of the six that will toe the rubber this weekend in Western Pennsylvania. Detwiler brings a 2.03 ERA to the hill, a sparkling mark that exceeds most of his teammates, Jordan Zimmermann being the exception (he has a 2.00 ERA at this point in the season). Detwiler’s opposite number in this game, Pittsburgh starter A.J. Burnett, owns a tidy 2.83 earned-run average, but with Detwiler dealing as well as he’s been over the past month, it makes sense to ride the hot hand and go with Washington here.

MLB Betting Pick: Washington

Game 2 – Saturday, May 4

When the best online betting sites tackle this clash, they will view it as a tough one to pick. Stephen Strasburg is the scheduled starter for Washington, and he has a solid 3.13 ERA to this point in the season. However, he developed a little tightness in his forearm during Monday’s 3-2 loss to Atlanta. Strasburg vowed that he will make his next start, which suggests that he’ll take the bump, but will Strasburg be supremely effective? That’s quite another matter. Strasburg is going to be mindful of his forearm, no matter how insistent he is on pushing through the pain that might be associated with pitching this Saturday. That figures to be a distraction, one that will prevent Strasburg from being his best. Pittsburgh’s young starter, Jeff Locke, claims a snappy 2.83 ERA and will have a very good chance to outpitch Strasburg in this particular tilt. Go with the Pirates here.

MLB Betting Pick: Pittsburgh

Game 3 – Sunday, May 5

This is not poker, but the similarity between baseball and that card game is the importance of the dealer. Washington starter Gio Gonzalez has struggled to this point in the season after winning 21 games last year for the Nationals. He will try to find his form in this game, but there are no assurances that he will do so. Pittsburgh sends veteran and former Houston Astro Wandy Rodriguez to the hill on Sunday. Rodriguez has been only marginally better than Gonzalez to this point in the season. Washington’s bats should be able to get to Rodriguez, while Gonzalez – who is not injured – figures to hit his stride before too long. In what looks and feels like a “course correction” type of game, the Nationals will swipe the series finale from the Bucs in Pittsburgh. A Washington team that has been drifting near .500 for a month is more likely than Pittsburgh to improve as the month of May develops.

MLB Betting Pick: Washington

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