Washington Nationals (-113, 8.5 o/u) at Baltimore Orioles (+103)
The Washington Nationals (73-50, 37-27 away) and Baltimore Orioles (67-56, 40-22 home) might not reside in the same state … or the same league … but this is as close to a regional rivalry as either one has. Tonight, Nats ace Stephen Strasburg (15-4, 3.59 ERA) will look to get his season back on track against Dylan Bundy (6-4, 3.36 ERA) when Washington visits Camden Yards (7:05 PM ET).
With Clayton Kershaw out indefinitely, Strasburg (15-4, 3.59 ERA) had emerged as the NL Cy Young favorite, but the oft-injured pitcher has lost his last three starts. He had his worst out of the season last time out, going just 1.2 innings and giving up nine runs and nine hits in a 12-10 loss to the Rockies.
Strasburg’s struggles haven’t extended to the rest of the team, though. The Nationals are 3-1 in their last four and hold an 8.5-game lead over the Marlins for top spot in the NL East. Pitching has long been the strength of the team, but the bats are more than holding their own this year; Washington sits sixth in the majors in runs and ninth in both on-base and slugging percentage.
Bundy, the man tasked with quieting those bats tonight, also had a game to forget in his last start, throwing 4.1 innings of nine-hit, five-run ball in an 8-1 drubbing at the hands of the hard-hitting Red Sox. That was his first loss in his last four decisions.
The Orioles held the division lead in the AL East for much of the season, but have lost five of their last six – including three of four to Houston in their last series – and now trail both Toronto and Boston. They do still hold down the second Wild Card spot in the AL, but are just a game up on Seattle and 2.5 ahead of Detroit.
Tonight’s game will be the first meeting of the season between the teams. Baltimore leads the all-time series 39-32, but are really struggling at the moment – including at Camden, where they’ve lost six of their last seven. Look for Strasburg to get back on track tonight and keep the Orioles’ struggles going.
Pick: Washington (+113).
Photo credit: Johnmaxmena2 (Own work) CC BY-SA 4.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.