MLB Picks 2012: Washington Nationals vs. Milwaukee Brewers

The Washington Nationals (58-39) and Milwaukee Brewers (44-53) will open up a four-game National League series on Thursday night at Miller Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:10 ET

Washington Nationals at Milwaukee Brewers  

The Milwaukee Brewers will need SP Yovani Gallardo to go deep into Thursday’s contest

Washington opened up its seven-game road trip by picking up a three-game sweep of the New York Mets, including a pair of 5-2 victories in the final two contests.  The Nationals now find themselves a season-best 19 games over the .500 mark.  “We know we’re good,” commented Nationals outfielder Michael Morse.  “That’s what it comes down to.”  The club will certainly be tested in this series, considering its 0-8 at Miller Park since July 2009.  Washington is 8-5 as a road underdog of +100 to +125, with the “under” going 7-6 in that situation.

Nationals starting pitcher Edwin Jackson (5-6, 3.73 ERA) has dropped consecutive starts, but has received just three runs of support over that span.  The right-hander is 2-3 with a 4.07 ERA in 10 road outings, surrendering nine home runs in 59.2 combined frames.  In five career starts versus the Brewers, Jackson has compiled an even 2-2 record and 4.22 ERA, including a 1-1 mark and 5.79 ERA in two appearances at this ballpark.

Milwaukee watched its bullpen implode in Philadelphia the past three games, suffering a sweep that likely ended any chance of the club making a run towards the playoffs.  “All three of those losses here were just really tough,” commented former Brewers closer John Axford.  The Brewers are now 13 games back of the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central race, while sitting 9.5 games back of the two wild card spots.  Milwaukee is 22-35 at home with a money line of -100 to -125 the last two-plus seasons.

Brewers starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo (8-7, 3.72 ERA) is coming off a 6-2 setback on the road to the Reds, giving up four runs and nine hits over 5.2 innings.  The right-hander is 4-2 with a 3.14 ERA in 10 home outings, surrendering 10 home runs in 63 combined frames.  In six career games (five starts) versus the Nationals, Gallardo has registered a 3-1 record and 3.90 ERA, including a 1-1 mark and 5.84 ERA in two efforts a year ago.

Sports bettors will likely back the Brewers due to their 40-18 mark in Gallardo’s last 58 home starts as a favorite, while the Nationals are 0-5 in Jackson’s last five road outings versus losing teams.

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