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Today’s play of the day is a battle between two teams with the best starting pitching staffs in baseball. Unfortunately, neither team is sending one of their top three options to the mound this evening. The home team is superior, but their odds gives one immediate reason for pause. Let’s investigate in order to ascertain if the home team is the prudent play or if the odds were set like this for a reason.
Cincinnati Reds vs. Washington Nationals
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The Cincinnati Reds are set to do battle with the exciting Washington Nationals. Cincinnati has had an up and down season and currently find themselves on the outside looking in at a playoff spot. They sit four games under .500 at 56-60. They have boosted their runs scored to 4.58 per game and boast a top-six pitching staff in terms of team ERA. Their +39 run differential and 36 wins against teams above .500 (which ranks fourth in the league) suggest that they may be a much better team than their record indicates. The Reds have been poor on the road where they hold a 23-32 record. Cincinnati has won 10 of their last 15 games.
Washington had turned their season around and seemed destined to make it a race in the NL East. However, Washington has lost nine of their last 17 games and find themselves 6.5 games back of the Atlanta Braves. The Nationals have scored a top-tier 4.99 runs per game, and have a solid +47 run differential on the season. Washington has a strong 31-25 record at Nationals Park. Washington holds the edge in the team form department.
Cincinnati will be sending the talented but inconsistent Anthony Desclafani to the mound. Washington will be countering with Erick Fedde. Desclafani has a solid 7-6 record on the season but has paired it with a 4.20 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. He has allowed three runs or less in 15 of his 22 starts. Desclafani has been better at home this season and holds a 4.72 ERA and 1.32 WHIP away from Great American Park. Cincinnati has won five of his last 10 starts.
Erick Fedde currently sits at 2-2 on the season. He holds a 4.20 ERA and a poor 1.42 WHIP through 15 appearances. Fedde has allowed two runs or less in seven of his 10 starts but did get rocked for four runs in relief of Anibal Sanchez on May 16th against the Mets. Fedde has been terrific on the road this season but has been brutal at home. He holds a pitiful, replacement level 6.10 ERA and 1.65 WHIP at Nationals Park. Fedde was below average in his lone start against the Reds this season. He gave up two runs in just four innings of work. He walked three and allowed six hits. Washington has won two of his last three starts and five of his 10 starts overall this season. Cincinnati holds the edge in the pitching form department.
There are some intriguing trends for this contest. The Reds have won their last four Monday games. They have won their last six games against right-handed starting pitchers. They have won five of their last six road games against right-handed starting pitchers. Cincinnati has won five of their last eight overall. Finally, they are 5-1 in their last six games following a loss.
Washington has won 12 of their last 15 series openers. They have won 22 of their last 29 games against teams with losing records. They have won 36 of their last 52 home games against teams with losing road records. However, they have lost 13 of their last 19 Monday games. The Nationals have dropped 10 of their last 14 games against the NL Central. They have lost five of their last seven home games, Finally, they have lost four of their last five games against starting pitchers with a WHIP higher than 1.30.
Cincinnati has lost four of Desclafani’s last five road starts. They have lost his last four starts against teams with winning records. The Reds have lost five of his last seven series openers. Finally, the Reds have dropped four of his last five road starts against teams with winning records. On the positive trends side, they have won six of his last seven Monday starts.
Erick Fedde has bounced between the majors and minors this season and has only been a starter for 66 percent of his appearances this season. This means there are less discernible trend patterns. The Nationals have lost 10 of his last 13 home starts.
The line for this contest has already started to move. Washington opened at -125 and dropped to -115 before midnight. They currently sit at -113, and -115 at PointsBet. -125 on a team that is clearly superior and who is also playing at home may seem like a trap line. The early bettors were not fooled and have already pushed the odds in this contest.
Washington is sending a walking disaster to the mound in Erick Fedde. He has been terrible at home this season but has stayed in the majors since his last call up due to his strong work on the road. Conventional wisdom says the better team playing at home should have much higher odds, especially when one considers the Reds have won only three of their last 12 contests in Washington. The Nationals have won 19 of the last 26 meetings between these two teams overall.
Our form and trend analysis reveal these two teams both have a good chance to win this contest and that this is likely to come down to the pitchers. The Nationals still have the worst bullpen in baseball in terms of ERA but also have one of the best starting pitching staffs by that measure. Unfortunately, they are sending a below-average pitcher to the mound this evening in what could become another disappointing loss for a team mired in the NL wild-card race. With this in mind, the Reds seem to hold a slight enough edge to be the play.
Pick: Cincinnati Reds (-105)