The red hot Nationals welcome National League East rival and preseason World Series favorite Philadelphia to Nationals Park tonight for the start of a three game set. This evening’s contest, which is scheduled for a 7:05pm ET start, will be broadcast live on the MLB Network. MLB Odds have Washington listed as a -155 moneyline favorite; the Over 6.5 runs is favored at -120 odds. The Phillies are drawing +135 to win tonight’s series opener.
Anyone who believed the Nationals were headed for a second half fade can now officially amend their stance. Sure, Washington may hit a rough patch or two as the season progresses, but its 12-6 post-All-Star Game record is a good indication that this team is not going anywhere anytime soon.
The Nationals have been particularly hot of late, winning eight of their last nine games to maintain a 3.5 game lead over the streaking Braves in the NL East. Washington will look to keep that run alive tonight with Stephen Strasburg on the mound.
Strasburg has not been as sharp over the last month or so with the Nationals losing four of his last six starts, but the 24 year old right hander still sports an 11-4 record and 2.76 ERA. The second year pro rebounded from one of his more forgettable appearances of the season (eight hits and four earned runs allowed in a 10-11 loss to Atlanta) with an incredible showing against the Mets last Wednesday. Strasburg held New York to four hits and one earned run over seven innings and he also struck out 11 batters in the 5-2 victory.
The Phillies will look to halt their three game skid by sending former Cy Young winner Cliff Lee to the hill. Lee, despite pitching well most of the time (3.95 ERA, 1.20 WHIP), has just one win in 17 starts this season. Philadelphia is 5-12 in Lee’s 17 appearances and, amazingly, they earned one of those victories in his last outing. Lee yielded 12 hits (four home runs) and six earned runs over seven innings, but the Phillies topped the Brewers 7-6 at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies, who are 24-28 on the road this season after getting swept by the Braves in Atlanta, do not figure to get things turned around tonight. Washington, which is 6-3 in Strasburg’s nine home starts, has won nine of the last 11 in this series.
MLB Odds Betting Trend: The Nationals are 7-3 in their last 10 games as a home favorite with a moneyline spread between 140 and 160 (Over was 8-2 in those 10 games).
MLB Odds 2012 Philadelphia Phillies vs Washington Nationals: Provided by Bovada.lv
Philadelphia Phillies +1.5 (-190), Over 6.5 (-120), +135 (Moneyline)
Washington Nationals -1.5 (+160), Under 6.5 (-110), -155 (Moneyline)