Pirates vs. Nationals Pick
Oddsmakers at sports book Bovada.lv have listed the Nationals as a -166 favorite to win on the moneyline. The Pirates are a +143 underdog and the over-under is set at 8.
Drawing the start for Pittsburgh will be Steven Brault (1-0, 3.86 ERA), while Washington turns to Gio Gonzalez (15-8, 2.75). Brault has a 1.38 WHIP with 19 strikeouts over 32 2/3 innings. He gave up no earned runs on two hits with one strikeout and no walks over three innings in a 10-1 home win against the Orioles his last appearance. Gonzalez holds a 1.15 WHIP with 186 strikeouts over 196 2/3 innings. He allowed three earned runs on five hits with seven strikeouts and five walks over five innings in a 4-1 loss at the Phillies his last outing.
The Pirates are 74-87 overall and 30-50 on the road, while the Nationals enter at 97-64 and 47-33 at home. The season series is tied 3-3 and the over-under is 2-3-1.
Pittsburgh scored four runs in the ninth inning to claim a victory Saturday. Mike Moroff was 2-for-2 with a triple, three RBIs and two walks to lead the way. George Kontos earned the win in relief and Felipe Rivero picked up his 21st save. Ryan Zimmerman was 2-for-2 with an RBI for Washington. Max Scherzer threw the first 3 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball with five strikeouts before departing with an apparent leg injury, bad news for the Nationals as they enter the playoffs. Brad Kintzler took the loss in relief.
Bet on Pirates vs. Nationals
Gonzalez is obviously the better pitcher here, but he has never been quite as good as his numbers indicate this season. He's been regressing back closer to his normal lately and there is no reason Pittsburgh can't continue that trend against him. The Pirates have a chance to finish the season in respectful fashion versus the NL East champs. Brault will likely face a lineup scattered with backups.
MLB DAILY PREDICTION: PITTSBURGH PIRATES +143