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Nationals Try To Make Up Ground On The Braves In National League East

Posted by Dale "Skip" Lalonde on 6/20/2013 7:50:41 PM

In 2012, the Washington Nationals fielded a formidable offense to supplement their starting pitching. This year, they’re not hitting much at all. That has to change very soon.

Colorado Rockies @ Washington Nationals – Friday, June 21
Sport betting line: No line

Why Colorado Will Win

Demonstrating power catches the eye of observers, but being able to shut down power also wins the admiration of mma betting specialists. Colorado starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin did this on June 16. He was brilliant in his most recent outing this past Sunday against the Philadelphia Phillies. Chacin was one out away from registering what is called a “Maddux,” an homage to Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux. A “Maddux” is a complete-game shutout thrown by a pitcher who wins the game and uses fewer than 100 pitches in the process. Chacin was just about to achieve that feat against Philadelphia, but his teammate, rightfielder Michael Cuddyer, misjudged a fly ball to the warning track, causing a run to score on a double. Chacin should have had a complete-game shutout, but at any rate, he still got back on the beam and delivered a strong start for a team whose bullpen needed a rest. Chacin’s ERA is a modest 4.26, but his upside remains considerable.

One must also note that while Washington starter Stephen Strasburg has been really good to this point in 2013, he is coming off an injury and probably won’t go for more than five or six innings in this contest. Colorado will get opportunities to hit against the Nationals’ bullpen, which is less reliable than its starting rotation.

It is also necessary to mention that Washington has one of the four worst offenses in the National League and one of the six worst offenses in baseball. The Nats are wasting their starting pitching because they simply cannot produce hits or productive outs in high-leverage situations. This past Sunday in Cleveland against the Indians, Washington failed to score a runner from third base with no outs – no, not just once, but three separate times. This offense is bereft of confidence, and that’s why the Rockies have such a good chance to win this game on Friday.

Why Washington Will Win

As is the case with poker, the ability to deal forms the centerpiece of competition in baseball, and Washington’s starting pitcher certainly hopes that he’ll be able to deal at a high level this Friday.

Even though he suffered an injury in a May 31 game against the Atlanta Braves, Washington starter Stephen Strasburg – who missed two starts – got back on the horse and performed well on June 16 against Cleveland. Strasburg went five innings, giving up just one run on one hit. He did walk four, but his velocity and movement were very encouraging for everyone in the organization, especially manager Davey Johnson. Strasburg should be able to outpitch Chacin – his ERA of 2.50 is 1.76 runs lower than his counterpart from Colorado. That kind of statistic is really hard to ignore.

Who Will Win?

The Nationals know that they have to pick up the pace before too long; otherwise, the Atlanta Braves will run away with the N.L. East. A sense of urgency will propel Washington to a victory here.

MLB Betting Pick: Washington

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