Phillies vs Nationals MLB Betting + Handicapping Picks
Oh, what a difference a year can make. The Philadelphia Phillies arrive in D.C. in unfamiliar territory, as they sit in dead last in the NL East, while the division-leading Washington Nationals -a place the Nats are not all that familiar with either –try to win their 14th victory in the last 18 meetings with Philly.
PHI: Cliff Lee (1-6, 3.95 ERA) v WAS: Stephen Strasburg (11-4, 2.76 ERA)
Date/Time: Tuesday, July 31, 2012, 7:05 PM ET
Venue: Nationals Park, Washington D.C.
Broadcast: CSN (Philadelphia), MASN2 (Washington)
Spread: Nats -139
Philadelphia (45-57) hasn’t finished a season below .500 since they went 80-81 in 2002 (oddly enough the same record Washington posted in 2011), and things don’t look like they’re going to improve anytime soon as they head into the opener of their three-game series with Washington fresh off being swept in Atlanta over the weekend.
To make things even worse, they were outscored 14-4 in those three games.
Now they must face rising ace Stephen Strasburg who will look to keep Washington (61-40) rolling, as they pile up the wins, having won eight of nine after Sunday’s 11-10, 11-inning victory at Milwaukee.
He is 4-2 with a 3.10 ERA in nine home starts this season, but wasn’t at his best against the Phillies on May 4 when he allowed three runs in six innings. Nevertheless, the Nats escaped with a 4-3 victory in 11 innings in that one.
Washington has now won 13 of the last 17 matchups – a run that started with a 10-2 win over Cliff Lee on May 31, 2011.
At the moment Lee, the subject of many trade rumors, will take the hill to try and stop the bleeding for the Phillies.
The left-hander had gone 1-1 with a 2.05 ERA in his previous three outings, but now has lost his last two starts with a 5.84 ERA versus Washington.
Matt’s Free Prediction: Washington- I expect Lee to have a decent outing here, but Phillies lack of offensive pop will only be magnified against Strasburg.