It’s a midweek matchup of two last place teams, but it’s also an opportunity for the 29-43 St. Louis Cardinals. The 27-43 Washington Nationals were just swept by Miami this weekend and sit 18 games out of first in the NL East, but the Cardinals are just 8.5 games behind Milwaukee for the top spot in the Central.
St. Louis just took two of three from the Mets and could make up some ground on the rest of the division with another series win over the Nationals. For Game 1 the Cardinals will send Jack Flaherty to the mound against Josiah Gray. Flaherty is 3-5 in 14 starts with a 4.64 ERA and Gray is 4-5 in his 14 starts for Washington and comes in with a 4.77 ERA.
The Cardinals have won two in a row and now they’re favorites on the road in DC tonight.
Cardinals vs. Nationals odds, run line and total
Cardinals vs. Nationals prediction and pick
The Nationals have not done a lot of winning in June. In fact they’ve won just twice in their last 13 games and this month are 26th in team OPS and 27th in runs scored. Lane Thomas and Luis Garcia are doing their best to carry the offense, but when a former top prospect like CJ Abrams has a .317 OPS 18 days into a month it becomes nearly impossible for a lineup to stay viable. Now the Nats just have to hope that their pitching staff doesn’t fall apart.
Oh wait, it’s too late. Washington is 26th in ERA in June and Josiah Gray, who had been so reliable, has allowed four runs in two of his three starts this month. Gray has a FIP of 4.77 and has allowed four home runs already in June. Gray is 26th percentile in strikeout percentage and 20th in walk rate, which means he gets into jams often with walks and can’t get out of them without the ball being put in play.
The Cardinals haven’t been all that much better offensively. They’ve scored just six more runs than Washington this month, but their .715 OPS is much higher and Nolan Arenado, who is capable of carrying a lineup himself is red hot. Arenado hit two more home runs yesterday, has four this month and is carrying a .992 June OPS into this series. The Cardinals haven’t been good, but the Nats look like they’re ready to really bottom out, so let’s back St. Louis.
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