Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tanner Roark
Betting Odds: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Washington Nationals
- Nationals: +110 (Tanner Roark)
- Cardinals: -120 (Luke Weaver)
- Total: 8.5 (-115/-105)
- First pitch: 7:15 p.m. ET
>> All odds as of 12:30 p.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time MLB odds and track your bets
As I continue through what has been a really successful week in my “Bet to Watch” series, I am once again back to the world of the First 5 innings.
And really, when you deal with Nationals and Cardinals games, keeping the bullpens out of it seems to be the only way to keep your sanity.
Just ask all those Washington backers who were watching the game against the Cubs Sunday night. Yikes.
St. Louis has had its fair share of blown leads and crazy finishes, too. I can’t predict they’ll both blow it, so we’ll keep things simple.
I am really interested in the recent work of Roark, who quite frankly is kind of on a tear over the last month.
Post All-Star break, tonight’s Nationals starters is 4-0 in 4 starts with a 1.21 ERA, .213 BAA and a 27/2 K/BB ratio. It’s pretty remarkable stuff for a guy who was insanely hittable in June and early July.
Maybe he just really needed the break to work some stuff out. Also of note, this tends to happen throughout his career. The three seasons before this one, his June/July/August ERA split is 6.12/3.77/2.99. His pre-post All-Star break splits are also encouraging over that period.
Meanwhile, over that same time, Weaver has tended to struggle. Although his ERA isn’t particularly galling, opponents are hitting .346 against him in four starts since the All-Star break, and his 15/7 K/BB ratio leaves a lot to be desired, too.
Basically, he is getting into jams with regularity but somehow finding ways to get out of them, which keeps his ERA down. That’s a dangerous game.
It might be easy to look at his most recent effort — two earned runs over six innings — and think there’s room for optimism, but that was also against the Marlins who have the most anemic offense in the league. He still allowed seven hits in that game, too.
Even with home field factored in, this number came up off by a fair amount for me. And barring some pretty extreme lineup changes or scratches, I’ll be playing the Nationals in the first 5 innings at +115, and hope Roark’s great current form continues.
The Pick: Nationals F5 +105