Dodgers vs. Nationals Odds, Preview, Prediction: How to Bet Max Scherzer vs. Los Angeles (Friday, July 2)
Mark Brown/Getty Images. Pictured: Max Scherzer
- The last two World Series champions square off Friday for the second of a four-game set.
- This one features future Hall of Famer Max Scherzer taking on the Los Angeles offense.
- Mike Ianniello breaks down the matchup and makes his betting pick below.
Dodgers vs. Nationals Odds
|Time||7:05 p.m. ET|
The Nationals finished the month of June 19-9 to climb into second place in the NL East and just two games behind the Mets.
Los Angeles also sits second in its division, trailing San Francisco by just a half game. The Dodgers took Game 1 of a four-game series in D.C., 6-2 last night in a rain-shortened affair. The defending champs have won six straight games but will have a tough task against a future Hall of Famer on Friday night.
Can Urías Return to Form for Los Angeles?
At just 24-years old, left-hander Julio Urías has already pitched in parts of six big league seasons and has made 54 career starts. The hard-throwing lefty is 9-3 this year with a 3.95 ERA and 3.49 FIP.
After starting the season lights out, Urías has struggled a little bit recently. In his last six starts, he has lasted six innings just once and allowed three runs or more three times, including a pair of six-run blowups. He has a 5.81 ERA over his last six starts.
Urías throws three pitches, a fastball, curveball and changeup. His off-speed stuff has been fantastic, with his changeup allowing a .133 average and .149 wOBA and his curveball giving up a .145 average and .179 wOBA. However, his fastball has been tuned up to a .350 batting average and .443 wOBA. He has allowed a home run in seven straight games.
It is a bit surprising given the big names in this Dodgers lineup they didn’t have a single All-Star starter. That is likely due to almost every player missing time at some point due to injury, but Max Muncy or Justin Turner probably had the best argument. Turner is hitting .357 over the last two weeks and has been LA’s best player pretty much all season.
As a unit, the Dodgers rank fourth in runs per game, are fifth in wOBA and third in wRC+ this season. Los Angeles has been much better against right-handed pitching this year, ranking third in wOBA and second in wRC+ but the Dodgers aren’t just facing any normal right-handed pitcher on Friday.
Scherzer and the Nats’ Bats Are Tough to Beat
Washington will have three-time Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer on the mound Friday and Mad Max has returned to his Hall of Fame form this season. In 15 starts, Scherzer is 7-4 with a 2.14 ERA, which would be the lowest in his career.
In 15 starts this year, Scherzer has lasted at least five innings in every start except one he left due to injury. He has allowed more than two runs just twice all season and those both came in April. In his 10 starts since the start of May, Scherzer has a 1.70 ERA with a .163 batting average against.
With a 12.12 K/9 rate, Scherzer ranks seventh in the league in strikeout rate. As long as he doesn’t snap and try to fight an ump or opposing coach, the sticky stuff crack down hasn’t seemed to affect him. In his two starts since the rule change, Scherzer has allowed two total runs and seven hits while striking out 15 over 11 innings.
The story for this Nationals’ offense has been the scorching hot Kyle Schwarber. The former Cub has 25 home runs on the season with 12 in his last 14 games. Schwarber is batting .333 with a 1.438 OPS and 1.019 slugging percentage over this last two weeks.
The Nationals’ whole team has been hot, ranking fourth in the league in batting average and second in OPS over the last two weeks.
Just one day after tying an MLB record with his third career cycle, Trea Turner was out of the Nationals’ lineup Thursday with a jammed finger. Turner has been the Nats’ best player all season and is worth waiting to see if he is back in the lineup tonight.
Whenever you have an elite offense going up against an elite pitcher, I usually tend to side with the elite pitcher, and that’s what I am going to do on Friday night.
Scherzer has been dominant all season and back to his Hall of Fame form. In 13 career starts against the Dodgers, he has a 2.67 ERA and the current LA roster is batting just .167 against him in their career with a .270 wOBA.
On the other side, Urías has struggled over the last month or so and this Nationals lineup has been hitting the ball really well, and has a .339 career batting average against him.
For my best bet I am going to back Mad Max and the Nationals on the First Five Moneyline at -110 and would play them to -115.
Pick: Washington Nationals First Five ML -110 (Bet to -115)