Date/Time: May 25th, 7:15 PM ET
Probable Starters: Pettibone (Philadelphia) vs. Haren (Washington)
Moneyline: Nationals -150
Two of the best teams in the NL East are set to go to battle for the second time this year on Saturday night, as the Washington Nationals try to beat the MLB betting odds against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Phils are only batting .239 this season against right-handed pitching, and they don’t even have a team OBP of .300. That’s not nearly going to get the job done against some of the best teams in baseball, and if that doesn’t improve in this game, this is going to be an outing in which they’ll lose. They only mustered two runs against the Nats yesterday, and that was the fourth consecutive game against Washington in which they scored just two runs or fewer. Philly will be sending rookie RHP Jonathan Pettibone to the hill in this one. The team is 5-1 in his six starts thus far this season, but there is definitely some cause for concern going forward. The Phillies’ righty has a 1.31 WHIP, and his strikeout total is low with just 21. In fact, in his last three starts, Pettibone has just eight strikeouts against nine walks.
Washington is a couple games above .500 now, and that’s a remarkable stat considering how bad its offense has been to watch over the course of these first 48 games of the season. The Nationals rank third to last in baseball in run production at 3.42 runs per game, and they rank second to last in both team OPS (.657) and team batting average (.227). All of that is in spite of the fact that they have one of the best young hitters in the game in OF Bryce Harper. The pitching staff has been rock solid this year though, and the argument could be made that the worst of the bunch has been the man that they acquired in free agency this year, RHP Dan Haren. Haren has only led the team to a 4-5 record, and he has some very uncharacteristic splits that make us wonder whether he has hit the end of his career. This is as high of an ERA (5.54) or WHIP (1.43) as Haren has ever had in a season in his career, and he has also already allowed 10 home runs this year, when he has never allowed more than 31 in a campaign.
It’s a nice spot to be backing the Phillies on Saturday at plus odds. We don’t trust that Haren has the goods to be able to get through this Philadelphia lineup with success over and over again, and Pettibone is an underrated arm for sure. Take the Phillies to level this three-game set at a game apiece going into the rubber match on Sunday.
Philadelphia Phillies @ Washington Nationals Pick: Philadelphia Phillies +140
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.