Saturday baseball on Fox Sports 1 features a doubleheader beginning at 4:05 p.m. ET as the San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals continue their series. At 7:10 p.m. ET, the Atlanta Braves and the Cincinnati Reds play the third game of a four-game set in the Queen City.
Matchup: San Francisco Giants at Washington Nationals
Date/Time: August 23, 4:05 p.m. ET
TV: Fox Sports 1
MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook
Probable Starters: SF: Tim Lincecum (10-8, 4.48) v. WSH: Jordan Zimmermann (8-5, 2.97)
Moneyline: Washington -183
Total: 7.5 -105/-105
Nobody had been able to slow down the Washington Nationals until the San Francisco Giants did with Friday’s victory. The Nationals win streak of 10 games was snapped with a 10-3 final. Both teams will have a quick turnaround from Friday night’s game with a midday matinee on Fox Sports 1 as Tim Lincecum faces off against Jordan Zimmermann. The Giants enter Saturday’s game with a one-game lead for the second Wild Card spot, while the Nationals have opened up a six-game lead in the NL East Division.
This will be a big start for Lincecum, who needs to get back on track if the Giants hope to make the postseason. Away from the pitcher-friendly conditions of AT&T Park, Lincecum has a 5.98 ERA this season and has picked up a win in just three of his 10 road starts. In six starts and one relief appearance, in which Lincecum notched his first career save, since the All-Star Break, he has posted a very ugly 7.58 ERA as opposing batters have hung a .998 OPS on him. Three of his last four road starts have qualified as quality starts.
The Nationals are hoping that Zimmermann can keep doing his thing. Since the start of June, Zimmermann has a 2.25 ERA over 14 starts. In a rotation that features Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg, Zimmermann is often an afterthought, but he may be the team’s most consistent starting pitcher. Since June 3, opposing batters have a .568 OPS against the right-hander and he has an 82/11 K/BB mark over those 92.1 innings. The Nationals are 4-0 in Zimmermann’s four starts this month and he has pitched into the seventh in all four.
Lincecum will be facing off against the Nationals for the 10th time in his career and he’ll be looking for better results than he usually has. Lincecum is just 1-5 with a 6.08 ERA in his career against the Nats. All five losses have come in the last four seasons as Lincecum has a 9.00 ERA in 30 innings. The Giants are 15-10 in Lincecum’s 25 starts for a profit of 4.39 units.
Zimmermann has pitched well in his career against the Giants, which isn’t a big surprise since he’s very consistent. He’s 4-2 with a 2.89 ERA, but over the last three seasons, he’s 4-1 with a 1.99 ERA. The Nationals are 16-9 in Zimmermann’s 25 starts for a profit of 3.86 units.
Free MLB Pick: Washington Nationals
This tastes very chalky, but Tim Lincecum’s road struggles are not something that bettors want to try and outsmart. The Nationals are hitting and pitching extremely well right now and it’s hard to go against this team, especially with their most consistent, and arguably best, pitcher on the hill.
Matchup: Atlanta Braves at Cincinnati Reds
Date/Time: August 23, 7:10 p.m. ET
TV: Fox Sports 1
MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook
Probable Starters: ATL: Ervin Santana (13-6, 3.71) v. CIN: Mike Leake (9-11, 3.65)
Moneyline: Atlanta -116
Total: 7.5 -115/-105
The Atlanta Braves started the season 17-7 and have been a streaky team since the start of the season. After losing 11 out of 14, the Braves have won seven of eight with their 2-1 win in 12 innings against the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night. The Reds, meanwhile, are just 2-12 since August 7 when they swept a two-game series against the Cleveland Indians. The Braves are trying to hang on in the NL Wild Card chase, currently one game behind the San Francisco Giants, while the Reds should start looking towards next season.
Late free agent signing Ervin Santana has been everything the Atlanta Braves asked him to be once injuries decimated their starting rotation and forced their hand into signing Santana. After struggling deep into June with a 4.15 ERA, Santana has allowed just 23 earned runs over his last 10 starts for a 3.12 ERA. Coincidentally, the Braves are 8-2 in those 10 starts and Santana is 8-1 after starting the season 5-5. Santana has been the winner in each of his last six decisions and has only been the losing pitcher once since June 22.
The Cincinnati Reds rotation is among the league leaders in innings pitched and Mike Leake has been a big part of the reason why. Leake is averaging nearly 6.2 innings per start this season and has been very effective for the Reds with a 3.65 ERA. Since June 21, Leake has pitched very well with a 3.47 ERA, but he’s just 5-5 in those 12 starts and the Reds are just 5-7 as a team. The Reds have scored three runs or less in 14 of Leake’s 26 starts and have lost each of his last three starts. Leake has made some strides in his control numbers with a better strikeout rate and a lower walk rate this season and those are very positive developments for the 26-year-old.
Santana made his first career start against the Reds this season, a start in which he allowed four runs on nine hits in 6.2 innings of work. He picked up the win in a 5-4 victory. The Braves are 14-10 in Santana’s 24 starts for a profit of 1.73 units.
Leake has faced the Braves six times in his career. He’s 2-2 with a 2.91 ERA, but he has allowed five home runs in his last two starts against them, including three home runs in a start earlier this season in which he allowed four runs on eight hits over seven innings. The Reds are just 10-16 in Leake’s 26 starts for a loss of 6.18 units, though not much of that is Leake’s fault.
Free MLB Pick: Atlanta Braves
This appears to be a close game with two starters that will work deep into the ballgame and the bullpens could decide it. If that’s the case, the Braves certainly have an advantage as the Reds are shifting pitchers around and trying to find somebody to bridge the gap to Aroldis Chapman, who has had problems of his own recently. The Reds are just 18-31 in one-run decisions this season.
Adam Burke is a freelance writer and amateur handicapper with a knack for finding value through matchup analysis and a deep understanding of the sports betting market. His main area of expertise is baseball, with a background in sabermetrics and advanced statistics. He is the host of The Gridiron Gambling Report and our college football and college basketball BangTheBook.com podcasts on the BlogTalkRadio Network.