Baltimore is the MLB Betting Underdog Against Washington on Thursday

Posted by Michael Hunt on Wednesday,June 7, 2017 11:03, EST in

The Beltway Series concludes for 2017 – unless they meet in the playoffs – as Baltimore visits Washington in interleague action Thursday. This is makeup game from one rained out on May 11 in D.C. Both the Orioles and Nationals were supposed to be off Thursday. The Nationals end a 3 game series today against the Los Angeles Dodgers, which they currently lead at 2-0. The Orioles end today a 2 game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, winning Game 1 yesterday . Washington should be a MLB lines favorite here.

Baltimore at Washington MLB Betting Preview & Prediction

When: Thursday, June 8, 7:05 PM ET
Where: Nationals Park, DC
Probable pitchers (away/home): Alec Asher/Joe Ross
TV: MLB Network
Stream: MLB.tv
RadioBaltimore / Washington
Opening MLB Lines: Nats favored by TBA

Why Bet On Baltimore?

The Birds took the first two games of the Beltway Series at home. It was 6-4 on May 8. Joey Rickard hit a leadoff homer in the bottom of the first and Mark Trumbo added a solo shot before Trey Mancini connected with a runner on to make it 4-0, and Washington never recovered. Caleb Joseph had a career high-tying four hits for the Orioles. Bryce Harper homered and drove in two runs for the Nationals.

In the second game, the Orioles prevailed 5-4 in 12 innings. Baltimore was down three runs in the bottom of the eighth. Adam Jones’ homer got Baltimore to 4-2 in the eighth, and the Orioles added two runs in the ninth against Enny Romero. Trumbo then won it with a bases-loaded single off Jacob Turner. Adam Lind had a three-run, pinch-homer in the eighth inning to break open a duel between Max Scherzer and Ubaldo Jimenez and put the Nationals up 4-1.

It’s Alec Asher (2-3, 3.62) on the mound here. He beat Boston last time out and retired 16 of the first 17 batters he faced. Asher ended up allowing two runs and three hits over 6 1/3 innings. It was his second start since replacing Ubaldo Jimenez in the Baltimore rotation; in his first try, Asher yielded six runs over two innings in loss to Houston.

Asher didn’t have a feel for his curveball in Houston which resulted in a six-run inning for the Astros. Against Boston, Asher indeed had his defying pitch, throwing his curveball with a 72.7 percent strike rate. Back in March, Asher was battling for one of the last spots in the Phillies bullpen before he was traded to the Orioles in the final week of spring training for a player to be named later or cash. That began an unpredictable trajectory into a multipurpose bullpen role and ultimately the fifth spot in the Orioles rotation.

Why Bet On Washington?

The Nats’ win in the Beltway Series was May 10 at home, 7-6. Former Orioles Matt Wieters had the game-winning RBI single. He says the competition between the teams isn’t only about proximity. “It’s a little bit because of location, but also because you see the talent on the other side,” Wieters said. “Players have mutual respect for what kind of talent each team has.”

The Nationals’ offense leads Major League Baseball in almost every category, including: runs scored (314), batting average (.279), on-base percentage (.348), slugging percentage (.481), OPS (.828), extra-base hits (209), and RBI (307), while ranking second in doubles (2nd, 112). Washington leads the National League and ranks second in MLB in hits (530) and third in home runs (86). Daniel Murphy leads all National League second basemen in the following categories: batting average (.340), on-base percentage (.393), slugging percentage (.573), doubles (16), home runs (10), RBI (40), hits (70), and OPS (.966).

It might or might not be Joe Ross on the mound for this one because he’s struggling and could be replaced. Ross allowed seven runs – six earned – and six hits with two walks over just three innings in a loss Saturday at Oakland. Ross threw just 48 of his 83 pitches for strikes and manager Dusty Baker said after the game that “it looked like Joe was fighting Joe.” At one point in the third, Baker went out to tell Ross to, as he put it, “quit fighting himself.”

Ross’ fastball velocity dropped from 94 to 90, then went back up again, perhaps a sign of the fluctuating mechanics the Nationals sent him to Triple-A Syracuse to correct earlier this season. In Ross’s first start since he returned from Syracuse two weeks ago, he threw eight innings and allowed one run on five hits. In two starts since, Ross has thrown seven innings combined and allowed 11 runs on 18 hits.

Now with a 7.34 earned run average on the year, it’s looking like Ross could get demoted for the second time. If it’s not Ross here, it probably will be A.J. Cole. He has not pitched particularly well for Syracuse this year. He has an ERA in the high 5.00s and is averaging only about five innings per start. Promoting him to the big leagues is only possible because of how poorly Ross has performed.

Baltimore at Washington MLB Betting Pick: Baltimore Orioles

I wouldn’t trust either Nationals pitcher, plus the team has to fly back from Los Angeles late Wednesday night.