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Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals Gambling Preview & Free MLB Picks

MLB Lines – Phillies vs Nationals

Thursday night’s game in the nation’s capital represents a match-up of the haves and have-nots of the National League East division.

Date/Time: Thursday, July 31 2014, 7:10 pm EST
Venue: Nationals Park, Washington DC
Philly +1.5, DC -1.5
MoneyLine: Philly +140, DC -160
Over/Under: 7
Pitching Match-up: Cliff Lee (4-5, 3.78 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (6-6, 3.56 ERA)

Today’s MLB Matchup Stats | Today’s MLB Insider Preview

The visiting Phillies (47-61) have their historical ace on the mound in DC tonight, but the southpaw Lee has struggled since coming back from injury – he owns an ERA of 7.59 and a WHIP of 2.25 in his last couple of starts.

Add it to a long list why the Phils are out of gas in the divisional race. They still seem to be stuck in this weird limbo where they should be rebuilding, but ownership seems loth to get started. It must be frustrating as a baseball fan in the City of Brotherly Love.

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Washington (58-47), meanwhile, seems to have its act together during a somewhat imperfect 2014 regular season; the Nats narrowly sit on top of the East, a game and a half up on the Atlanta Braves.

The Nationals counter with Gio Gonzalez on the bump. He has been solid and a big part of why Washington is viewed as such a competitor in the NL is its vaunted pitching depth.

In addition to Gonzalez, fifth starter Tanner Roark has been great (he leads the team in wins, ERA and WHIP) and when you throw in star Stephen Strasburg and Detroit cast-off Doug Fister, the Nationals can pitch with anybody.


Washington’s hitting has ran hot and cold, but the lineup accomplishes enough with the likes of SS Ian Desmond, IF Anthony Rendon and veteran OF Jayson Werth to support a strong staff of hurlers.

When everyone is healthy, the Nats look like arguably the most well-rounded team in baseball, but OF Bryce Harper, C Wilson Ramos and 3B/1B Ryan Zimmerman have all been cut down with injury this year.

It looks like another non-waiver trade deadline is going to come and go without Philadelphia jettisoning its assets, and at some point you have to ask why. The club has a lucrative TV deal like most other large-market teams in baseball, so that cash is in the owner’s back pocket.

Are they that worried about gate receipts that it fuels the stubborness to cling to veterans and the unwillingness to grab prospects. Maybe so. The reality is that in a few years, current crappy clubs like the Houston Astros and the Chicago Cubs should be on the steep upswing.

The Phillies are going to be a couple of seasons behind the party.

Players who were supposed to be breakout candidates – OF Domonic Brown comes to mind – have been atrocious. Even with his 16 dingers, 1B Ryan Howard is not doing enough to justify what he gets paid – he’s ostensibly a broken-down war horse that needs to be put out to pasture.

Other guys (Ben Revere, Chase Utley, to name two) have had solid offensive campaigns, but it’s not enough to make the Phils competitive.

Having said that, if Lee can shake the rust and show his usual form that made him one of the game’s elite aces for years, you can never count Philadelphia out of a Cliff Lee start. The intriguing question there is: What is the likelihood of that happening?

The safe bet is on the Nationals to acquit themselves well in their home park.

Washington 5, Philadelphia 2
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