Giants vs. Nationals Odds, Preview, Prediction: San Francisco Holds Pitching Edge (Sunday, June 13)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images. Pictured: Johnny Cueto.
- San Francisco and Washington close out a four-game series on an early Sunday afternoon game.
- The Giants and Nationals have combined for just six runs in the first three games.
- Tanner McGrath explains below why he thinks this could be another low-scoring game for Washington.
Giants vs. Nationals Odds
|Time||Sunday, 1:05 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Sunday and via DraftKings|
The Giants are hoping to roll right over the Nationals and take three of four from them, while the Nationals are hoping to split the series and not fall too far behind in their division.
So far, the first three games of this series have produced just six combined runs. The pitching has been great while the offense has been tragic.
Combine that with the Giants being one of the most profitable teams in the league while the Nationals have been one of the least profitable, and it’s hard to see why this series finale would be entertaining. For baseball bettors, however, there is always value to be found.
Giants Stars Turning Back The Clock
I don’t know who needs to hear this but – the Giants are good.
They combine a top-10 offense (eighth in wRC+ at 104) with a top-10 pitching staff (eighth in FIP at 3.70). At 40-24, they currently have a 1.5-game lead in the extremely competitive NL West division. Given they’ve won six of their last 10, it doesn’t look like the Giants are slowing down.
San Francisco has gotten a number of contributions from unlikely candidates. Specifically, Buster Posey and Evan Longoria, who have both turned back the clock and driven this team to unforeseen heights.
Over the past ten games, Posey and Longoria have hit a combined 27 for 71 (.380), while smashing six home runs and hitting 11 extra-base hits. Their presence is a main reason why the Giants are third in the league in OPS over the past two weeks (.807).
Additionally, they’ve gotten major contributions from their starting pitching staff, including today’s starter:
Starting pitcher: Johnny Cueto (RHP)
Cueto is an MLB veteran with a track record of success. However, after two very down years, he’s mightily improved this season, posting a 3.70 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP in nine starts so far.
Cueto’s best trait this season has been his control. At 4%, he’s currently on pace to post the lowest walk rate of his career. Additionally, he’s kept both his barrel rate (5.3%) and his average exit velocity (88.3 mph) fairly low.
However, there is reason to believe Cueto may be due for regression. Behind a ridiculously low ground ball rate (39.5%) and a career-high hard-hit percentage (37.5%), his xERA is over 4.50.
Cueto has been good, but certainly not immaculate. For example, he allowed three earned on six hits over just 4 1/3 innings in his last outing.
There’s Only So Much Scherzer & Strasburg Can Do For Nationals
In a depleted NL East, it’s finally become clear who the worst team is: the Washington Nationals.
Their recent stretch has left them 8.5 games back of the division lead and 9.5 games back of the wild card. Meanwhile, their -31 run differential is the worst in the division, and they’ve gone just 4-6 in their last 10 games.
Specifically, the offense is depleted. Over the past two weeks, the Nationals lineup ranks third to last in OPS (.617) and wOBA (.273) while ranking second to last in wRC+ (70). This has been the story all season, as their 3.73 runs per game ranks last in the division.
But with a rotation containing Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, the pitching should make up for the lineup’s issues. That’s true to an extent, but today’s starter is not someone to be confident in.
Starting pitcher: Joe Ross (RHP)
Ross lives on his sinker. He’s thrown it more than 40% of the time over the past two seasons, and it’s been fairly effective during that span.
Instead, his secondary pitches have been getting lit up. While he’s been good with his slider, he’s allowed a wOBA well over .500 on his four seamer and changeup this season. Additionally, the combined slugging percentage on those two pitches are hovering around .900.
Ross has had a tough year, but he is coming off a start where he threw six innings without allowing an earned run. Additionally, he also allowed 10 earned in one start against the Cardinals earlier this season. So, perhaps Ross’ numbers are slightly inflated compared to his performance.
Either way, the Nationals are just 3-8 in Ross starts this season, and he hasn’t earned a win since April 24th. Not something to be proud about.
With Cueto on the mound and the Giants looking for the series win, there is zero reason to not play the Giants at close to even money.
I heavily favor Cueto in his spot, but I also think the bullpen matchup favors the Giants as well. The Giants lead the league in reliever FIP (2.70) and WHIP (.77) over the past two weeks.
Additionally, I think the under is a safe bet as well. Both offenses rank in the bottom 10 in the league in OPS over the past two weeks. All three games in this series have gone under, and actually, the under has hit in seven straight meetings between the Giants and Nationals.
I’m looking to play the Giants and the under 9 both at -110 or better.
Pick: Giants (-107) | Under 9 runs (-110)