BetsByBob Saturday MLB Plays: Nationals to cruise behind Max Scherzer

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) delivers against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Wrigley Field.

On Friday, I took a break from doing a big write-up like I have been trying to do more often here at Pickswise, and my plays didn’t have good outcomes. Prior to that, all my Pickswise plays that I have gone in depth about have done really well. Part of that is the games where I have a lot to say, I am usually the most confident in. Not to say I wasn’t confident in yesterday’s plays. It actually looked like it was going to be a good day until some late-inning shenanigans.

It helps my process being able to talk through games thoroughly. Hopefully in turn it helps you guys at well to see things that I look for. I spend a lot of time on pitching matchups, because they matter a lot for baseball. I try to always list my starting pitchers when I make my bets, and recommend you do the same. Time to get back on track, and have a few plays on this Saturday MLB card.

Washington Nationals (Max Scherzer) at Baltimore Orioles (Matt Harvey)

Play: Nationals -1.5 (-120)

*Playable to Nationals -1.5 (-135)

The Washington Nationals dropped the opening game of the series to the Baltimore Orioles last night. The Nationals couldn’t get anything going offensively, as they managed only 1 run in a 6-1 final. They should have a more favorable pitching matchup on both sides of the ball today. Let’s hope that they can get the bats going behind their ace.

Max Scherzer takes the mound for the 18th time this season. Scherzer has been a dominant pitcher for a long time now, and this year is no exception. He has an ERA of 2.83 with a FIP of 3.48, all while striking out a staggering 35.1% of the batters he faces. The long ball has been a bit more of a problem for him this season, but when you miss bats like he does, you can get away with it. Opposing batters are hitting .183 against him, and the Orioles are in for a tough day today if he is on his game.

Matt Harvey will be the starter for the Orioles today, and is a guy I look to bet against often. In his last outing he tossed 6 innings of shutout baseball, but was against the Royals. The Nationals are a much better offensive team. When Harvey faced them on May 23, he gave up 5 runs in less than 5 innings. Harvey has a 7.13 ERA with a 4.63 FIP. This is largely due to his BABIP being .350. However, he doesn’t get many swings and misses anymore, and opposing hitters have a HardHit% of 39.5% against him.

I am not going to overthink this one as the Nationals have the edge in every aspect of this game. They should cruise to a comfortable victory.

Atlanta Braves (Drew Smyly) at Philadelphia Phillies (Vince Velasquez)

Play: Over 10 (-113)

*Playable to Over 10 (-120)

Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) reacts to striking out in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game six of the 2020 NLCS at Globe Life Field

© Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves are back in action today against their division rival, the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies managed to take yesterday’s game by a score of 5-1, as the Braves left 17 men on base and couldn’t get key hits when they needed them. I am expecting some more offensive production in this one, as we have two pitchers on the mound with some regression indicators.

Drew Smyly gets the start for the Braves, and could be his last one in a Braves uniform. The trade rumors have intensified as the deadline nears, and Smyly has been rumored to be on the move. The 32-year old has had an alright season, coming into this game with an ERA of 4.50 with a FIP of 5.14. Smyly is mostly a two-pitch pitcher, throwing his fastball and curve ball for a combined 90.2% of the time. He will mix a cutter in there occasionally, but I am not a fan of starting pitcher with limited arsenals like that. Smyly was on the Phillies himself two years ago, so there should still be some familiarity against him in that clubhouse.

Vince Velasquez gets the start for the Phillies, and has been a guy I have been looking to fade for some time now. The regression signs finally caught up to him in his past two starts. He gave up 13 runs in 8 innings over the last two games. He now sits with an ERA of 5.00 and a FIP of 5.34, a more accurate indicator of how he has pitched this season. Velasquez allows a good amount of hard contact, to a clip of 41.1%. That doesn’t couple well with a walk rate of 12.6%.

There should be offense today from both teams. Both bullpens rank in the bottom half of the league. This feels like a great shot to take at an over with the total sitting at 10.

Pickswise is the home of free MLB Picks and Predictions. Check out the latest MLB Prop Bets and MLB Parlays as well as our MLB Best Bets from the experts.

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