Washington (73-50) at Baltimore (67-56)
When: Monday, August 22nd 2016
Where: Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD
Time: 7:05 ET | TV: MLB Network
The Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles begin a four-game home-and-home Beltway Series Monday night at Camden Yards. The Nationals continue their nine-game road trip after winning three of four in Atlanta over the weekend. They just missed out on a sweep by dropping yesterday’s game 7-6 in extra innings. Bryce Harper is pulling out of a long slump by going 11-for-27 with two home runs and 10 RBIs on the road trip. 1B Ryan Zimmerman is 4-for-8 with a homer and three runs scored in two games since coming off the DL. The Nationals now lead the Miami Marlins by 8.5 games in the NL East standings. Baltimore has dropped five of six to open an eight-game homestand and their pitching has given up 8.3 runs a game in that stretch. The Houston Astros scorched the O’s staff over the weekend by scoring 37 runs in the four games. The Orioles are now just one game ahead of Seattle for the second AL Wild Card spot.
Pitchers: Nationals – Stephen Strasburg (15-4, 3.59 ERA) | Orioles – Dylan Bundy (6-4, 3.36)
Stephen Strasburg finished the first half of the season without a loss, but now has dropped four of his last six starts, including three in a row. Strasburg was torched by Colorado on Wednesday when he was hit for nine runs on nine hits and three walks in 1.2 innings. Strasburg tossed seven scoreless innings at Cleveland on July 27th in his last game against an AL opponent and is 2-0 with a 3.29 ERA in four interleague starts this season.
Dylan Bundy has been very effective since moving to the starting rotation on July 17th, but ran into a buzz-saw Wednesday against Boston. The Red Sox hit him for nine hits and five runs in 4.1 innings in the 8-1 setback. Bundy had reeled off three straight wins including two over first place teams (S.F., Texas). Bundy is 1-1 with a 2.63 ERA in three interleague games – two starts.
Strasburg’s recent struggles have me worried for the Nationals chances at going deep into the playoffs. Baltimore needs a win bad and could tee off on Strasburg tonight. Bundy has been good enough to get the job done. I’ll take the O’s tonight.
***** PITCHING CHANGE******
Stephen Strasburg was put on the disabled list this morning and the Nats are going with A.J. Cole for tonight’s game. Cole will make his major league debut after 6 years in the minors. He’s started 22 games this year for Triple-A Syracuse and is 8-8 with a 4.26 ERA. The O’s should take advantage of his nerves tonight. I’ll stick with Baltimore, but take the RL instead.
Pick: Orioles -1.5 +145