MLB Picks: Cincinnati Reds vs. Washington Nationals

The Cincinnati Reds (19-23) and Washington Nationals (23-20) will open up a National League series Monday night at Nationals Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET

Cincinnati Reds vs. Washington Nationals 

The Washington Nationals have won three of their last four games
The Washington Nationals have won three of their last four games

Cincinnati dropped its final two games against the Philadelphia Phillies, including an 8-3 setback on the road Sunday, while going OVER the betting total in each of those affairs.    The Reds have scored only four runs over their last 26 innings of play, which isn’t very surprising due to outfielder Jay Bruce and first baseman Joey Votto both being out of the lineup.  The franchise is 3-8 at this ballpark in its last 11 games, while it has fallen in defeat in seven of its last eight away from home.  Cincinnati is 7-7 against teams with a winning record this season.

Reds starting pitcher Mike Leake (2-3, 3.09 ERA) has watched the team fall short in his last five trips to the mound, but he didn’t earn a decision in a 2-1 home defeat to the San Diego Padres last time out.  The right-hander is 1-2 with a 3.53 ERA in five road efforts—surrendering six home runs in 35.2 combined innings.  In eight career games versus the Nationals, Leake has compiled a 3-3 record and 5.53 ERA.

Washington has won three of its last four games, including a 6-3 home victory over the New York Mets to close out the weekend.  The Nationals have one of the best bullpens in baseball, with late-inning relievers posting ERAs under 2.00 this season—led by closer Rafael Soriano picking up his 10th save Sunday.  Shortstop Ian Desmond is the main player to watch in this affair, as he’s batting .354 during an 11-game hit streak versus Cincinnati.   Washington is 2-4 as home favorites of -150 to -175 this season.

Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (3-3, 3.48 ERA) suffered a 3-1 road loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in his last appearances, as he gave up three runs and eight hits over seven frames.   The right-hander is 3-1 with a 2.30 ERA in five home starts—issuing nine walks and striking out 44 batters in 31.1 combined innings.  Strasburg has put together a 1-1 record and 7.36 ERA in two career outings versus Cincinnati.

Sports bettors will likely back the Nationals due to their 4-0 mark in Strasburg’s last four starts as a home favorite.

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