By: Austin Moehn (@austin_moehn22)
(Odds via Bovada)
Moneyline: WSH: (-120) | MIL: (EVEN)
Spread: WSH: -1.5 (+165) | MIL: +1.5 (-190)
Total: 9.5 Over: (EVEN) | Under: (-120)
First Pitch: 6:05 pm CST | Nationals Park | Washington, D.C.
Milwaukee heads to the capital this weekend as the Brewers look to get back into contention for the NL Central. In contrast, the Nationals look to build off their recent momentum. This rematch of the 2019 NL Wild Card Game still has many key players for both sides, but now, in 2021, the teams are without winning records. With a series victory, it can put either team in a good position for playoffs. The pitching matchup is Brett Anderson (2-3 4.34 ERA) vs. Jon Lester (0-2 5.33 ERA).
Washington Nationals (22-24)
The Nats won two out of three against the Reds earlier in the week and are looking to continue their winning ways this weekend. Unfortunately, the offense wasn’t as productive against Cincinnati’s pitching the past few days. Still, as a lineup, Washington has been one of the better ones statistically except for the most crucial category, runs. While the Nats rank near the top in average and on-base, they have struggled to produce runs and rank 27th in the league behind teams like Milwaukee and Seattle. Part of this is due to them playing fewer games than most teams, but it is important to know that Washington hasn’t been able to drive in the runs they’ve had the opportunities to. With power hitters like Josh Bell, Kyle Schwaber, and Juan Soto to pair with contact guys like Josh Harrison and Trea Turner, this Nats lineup is one of the more talented ones in the MLB. They will find a way to score a handful of runs, but the real question is if Jon Lester can have a quality start to give Washington the chance to get the win. Lester does have plenty of experience facing Milwaukee’s lineup, and the Brewers have gotten the better of this matchup as in 126 AB’s, Milwaukee’s hitters have an average of .303 with an OPS of .747. With how bad the Brewers lineup has hit this season, it’s going to be interesting to see which side of the matchup gives in.
Milwaukee Brewers (25-25)
Milwaukee split a four-game set against the Padres during the week. In my opinion, this was a huge series as it proved that Milwaukee still could hang with one of the best teams in baseball. With the Crew still winning four of their last six, along with the offense being more productive last week, this series vs. the Nationals has the potential to be a turnaround for Milwaukee. The Brewers will face a Nationals pitching staff that ranks in the middle of the pack in team ERA. In reality, their pitchers have either been lights out or vulnerable to allowing runs. With the lineup healthy and seeming to click, facing a pitcher like Jon Lester appears to be the perfect timing. Brett Anderson is coming off a solid last start and is looking for a repeat performance tonight. Anderson will be facing one of the better statistical offenses in baseball. Anderson hasn’t had too much experience meeting members of the National’s current lineup, but in the limited at-bats, Josh Bell and Jordan Zimmerman have found ways to get hits off the veteran lefty. If Anderson can pitch into the sixth or come out with a relatively clean five, this could be enough for Milwaukee to win on the road tonight.
Best Bet & Prediction
My best bet for this one is Milwaukee on the Moneyline (even). With the Brewers lineup hitting better recently and facing off against a struggling Lester and an injury-filled bullpen, I think the Brewers will be able to score a handful of runs. Brett Anderson hasn’t been lights out this season, but he’s a veteran and has been able to do enough to allow Milwaukee a chance to get the win. With how the Brewers batting vs. Nats pitching looks for this game, I think Anderson will limit the damage. Milwaukee’s bullpen hasn’t been too good this season which is worrisome, but they still have guys that have pitched well at the big league level. I think we’ll see a complete game out of Milwaukee tonight, and they will be able to get the win to open up this weekend series.
Austin’s MLB 2021 picks 10-7 (+$190 on $100 bets)
-Austin Moehn @austin_moehn22