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National League Contenders Meet In An Unexpected Situation

Posted by Dale "Skip" Lalonde on 6/12/2013 7:22:10 PM

In 2012, the Washington Nationals were the best team in the National League. Through 63 games in 2013, they’re not even at the .500 mark. A season needs to turn around quickly.

Washington Nationals @ Colorado Rockies – Thursday, June 13
Sport betting line: No line

Why Washington Will Win

When the best online betting sites tackle this clash, they will readily point out that the Nationals have been one of baseball’s biggest disappointments through 63 games. Washington is 31-32, far behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League East and well back of the Pittsburgh Pirates for the final wild card spot in the Senior Circuit. This team has not been performing up to expectations. However, with this having been said, Washington clearly has the advantage in this specific game because it owns the huge upper hand in the pitching matchup.

Ross Detwiler, the starter for the Nationals on Thursday in Denver, has a 2.76 ERA. He and teammate Jordan Zimmermann have certainly not been a part of the problem in the nation’s capital city. They have delivered the same high quality of starting pitching that they brought to the table last season. In contrast to Detwiler, Colorado starting pitcher Jeff Francis enters this game with a bloated 6.30 ERA. Yes, he is hamstrung by the fact that he pitches at Coors Field for his home games, but even if one must pitch in a hitter-friendly ballyard and deal with thin air in the Mile High City, one should still be able to keep an ERA under four runs if he possesses any appreciable degree of quality. Francis has pitched poorly this season, and so it makes little sense to trust him from a betting standpoint in this contest. The Nationals’ largely impotent bats could very easily get healthy in this game.

Why Colorado Will Win

This is not high-stakes poker, but there's still a certain amount of importance to a baseball game played in the middle of June when that game is a matchup of teams that are lagging behind the foremost contenders in the National League. The Nationals and Rockies are both scrambling in their divisional races and the wild card race. The Rockies are better situated than the Nationals right now, sitting at 35-30, but there’s still quite a bit of urgency for Colorado to stay in the hunt and not lose ground as the summer approaches. Don’t expect the Rockies to play with less intensity than the Nats.

The other big reason to pick Colorado is found in the respective batting orders of each team. The Rockies entered June 12 having scored 106 more runs than the Nationals, 325 to 219. Even though Washington entered June 12 having given up 33 fewer runs than Colorado (251 compared to 284 for the Rockies), the Nationals were saddled with a minus-32 run differential while Colorado owned a plus-41 differential. Even though the starting pitchers in this game are separated by roughly 3.5 runs in terms of their earned-run averages, their records are the same: Both Detwiler and Francis are 2-4 on the season. That tells you a lot. Colorado could win this game simply because Washington does not score many runs.

Who Will Win?

The Nationals have been flailing and failing at the plate this year, but Washington knows that it has a great chance to get healthy against a subpar pitcher. Expect the Nationals to flourish in this game.

MLB Betting Pick: Washington

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