Wednesday MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Nationals vs. Rockies: Back Washington’s Red-Hot Lineup (Sept. 29)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Juan Soto.
- The Washington Nationals are slightly favored in Wednesday's Major League Baseball game against the Colorado Rockies.
- Juan Soto has been red-hot this month, leading a Washington lineup that's currently thriving at the plate.
- D.J. James breaks down the matchup below and delivers his top selection.
Nationals vs. Rockies Odds
|Time||3:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
Peter Lambert and Paolo Espino face each other for one of the final games of the season. They are on opposite ends of their careers — Lambert is 24 and Espino is 34.
The Washington lineup has done exceedingly well against right-handed pitching in September. The same cannot be said about Colorado, so is this where the edge comes into play?
Washington Thriving Against Righties, Led by Soto
Espino has had a pretty average season. His 4.01 ERA indicates at least some decent outings, but his 4.92 xERA would tell another story. He does rank in the 95th percentile in curve spin and the 89th percentile in walk rate, so he has a few peripherals going for him.
The Rockies hold a .325 xwOBA against fastballs since Aug. 1. That number plummets to .309 in September, so obviously the lineup has tapered off. Espino features a heater about 55% of the time and goes to his curveball as a secondary option. Against curveballs in September, the Rockies only have a .230 xwOBA, so the results are even worse.
Espino has an advantage here in the pitching matchup.
At the plate, the Nationals have a 114 wRC+ against righties in September, which ranks sixth in MLB and gives them a massive edge over the Rockies.
Juan Soto is the main reason for this number, but Keibert Ruiz, Josh Bell and Lane Thomas all have OBPs of .340 and above facing righties. Alcides Escobar also is hitting above the 100 wRC+ mark this month.
Washington has plenty of depth for a team who has dropped significantly in the rankings since July.
The Washington bullpen is another story. Its 5.23 ERA and 0.0 fWAR is one of the worst in baseball in September. Tanner Rainey, Sean Nolin, Wander Suero and Mason Thompson are the only four arms with a 4.00 ERA or lower.
Depending on availability and how deep Espino can go in this game, this is an area of concern for the Nats.
Colorado Lineup Fading in September
The Rockies will start Lambert, who only has one appearance this season. In that outing, he threw 3 2/3, allowing two earned runs against the San Francisco Giants last Friday, but the results could have been worse.
On fastballs from righties this month, though, the Nationals are feasting. They have a .355 xwOBA and an Average Exit Velocity of 90.2 mph. Since he featured this pitch 40% his last outing, this is concerning.
The Rockies lineup has been awful in September. Their 74 wRC+ ranks 28th in the MLB. Elías Díaz, Ryan McMahon and Charlie Blackmon are the only ones above the 100 wRC+ facing righties lately. These three are the only ones with respectable OBPs (over .340).
Germán Márquez, although he only has eight plate appearances against right-handers this month, leads the team in slugging. This shows how depleted and weak this lineup.
Finally, the Rockies have a 5.23 ERA this month. They do have a 4.59 xFIP, so expect a bit of positive regression over the final week of the season.
That said, a 4.59 xFIP is nothing to flaunt. Robert Stephenson, Tyler Kinley, Lucas Gilbreath and Jordan Sheffield have been the best Colorado options as of late, so this is in line with the artillery in relief that the Nationals have. The bullpens are a wash.
The Nationals can hit right-handers. That is what this game comes down to, and the experience of Espino should allow the relief corps to rest for a few more innings than the Colorado relievers. This gives another edge to Washington, as both bullpens are awful. Keeping them out of the game as long as possible is an automatic win.
Take the Nationals moneyline at -104 on FanDuel and play to -130.
Pick: Nationals ML (-104, play to -130)