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Pirates vs. Nationals MLB Odds, Pick & Preview: Fade Favored Washington at Home (Monday, June 27)

Pirates vs. Nationals MLB Odds, Pick & Preview: Fade Favored Washington at Home (Monday, June 27) article feature image

Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images. Pictured: Oneil Cruz.

  • The Nationals are home favorites on Monday night against the Pirates.
  • With both sides struggling this season, is there value in fading the favorites here?
  • Mike Ianniello breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.

Pirates vs. Nationals Odds

Pirates Odds+128
Nationals Odds-152
Time7:05 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The two teams with the worst Run Differential in the league will kick off a three-game set that likely won’t garner much national attention. Washington has a -111 Run Differential, the worst in the league, and Pittsburgh isn’t much better at -99. However, the Pirates have outperformed their expected record by three games, tied for the second-most.

Pittsburgh has been a weird team this year because they have looked pretty competent against any team not from Milwaukee or St. Louis. If you take out the Brewers and Cardinals, the Buccos are 27-29 against the rest of the league. They went 3-1 against Washington earlier in the season and will look to continue their success against the Nationals on Monday.

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The Electric Cruz Leads the Pirates

Sure, the Pirates offense ranks bottom-three in the entire league in wOBA and wRC+. None of that matters — all that matters in the Steel City this season is the electric factory that is Oneil Cruz.

The six-foot-seven shortstop earned his first call-up of the season on June 20th and quickly established himself by registering the hardest-hit ball and fastest running speed by a Pirate all season. He also has recorded the hardest thrown ball by an infielder in the league at 96.7 miles per hour. Cruz has gotten a hit in five of his seven games this season and will be a must-watch on all TVs in the 412 this summer.

Soto and the Nationals Looking for Momentum

Part of the worst pitching staff in the league, Erick Fedde (RHP) has been mediocre all year, with a 4.46 ERA and 4.50 xFIP over 14 starts. That’s actually an improvement on his 5.11 career ERA, but either way, he is clearly a back-end rotation guy at best.

Like most sinker-ballers, Fedde does not miss bats frequently. He has just a 7.21 K/9 and sits in the bottom 25% in Strikeout Rate. The difference between him and an effective sinker-ball pitcher is that Fedde has allowed an extremely high 51.4% Hard-Hit Rate.

Washington’s offense ranks down in the bottom half of the league offensively, and Juan Soto’s struggles have played a major role. The Nats slugger is batting just .218, and he’s been hitting just .194 over the last month. He overcame a slow start after the All-Star break last year, and the Nationals desperately need him to get going again.

Pirates-Nationals Pick

We still don’t know who the starter is for Pittsburgh, but it will likely be a bullpen game. The good news for Pittsburgh fans is that the Buccos bullpen is actually one of their strengths.

Pittsburgh’s David Bednar has been nails in the closer role, and Wil Crowe, Chase De Jong, and Dillon Peters have all been effective too.

No matter who starts for the Pirates, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be much worse than Fedde, who has been well below average all season.

As of noon ET today, Washington is currently installed as high as a -152 favorite at FanDuel with Pittsburgh at +128. This Nationals team has the worst Run Differential in the league and has no business being more than a -150 favorite against anybody.

These are clearly two of baseballs basement-dwellers, but the Battlin’ Buccos have shown more signs of life, so I’ll take them at +128 in what should essentially be a coin flip.

Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates +128 (Play to +110)

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