Marlins vs. Nationals Odds
|Over/Under||9 (-105 / -115)|
|Time||7:05 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Monday morning and via DraftKings.|
The Nationals picked up a thrilling walk-off win against the Padres in a wild game on Sunday. They were up 4-0, went down 6-4, scored three in the eighth to take a 7-6 lead, blew the lead again in the ninth, and then walked it off to win 8-7. The win snapped a six-game losing streak. Washington is just 3-11 in July.
The Nationals are in fourth in the NL East, three and a half games ahead of Miami, which sits in the basement. The Marlins have the worst record in the division, but with a +16 run differential their expected record would be the best in the division. The Marlins dropped three games of a four-game set against the Phillies coming out of the break, but more importantly, lost a handful of starters to injury.
Rough Start to Second Half for Miami
The opening series of the second half could not have gone much worse for the Marlins. Outfielder Jesús Sánchez was placed on the injured list on Friday, pitcher Pablo López was put on IL on Saturday, and then star second baseman Jazz- Chisholm Jr. (shoulder) and first baseman Garrett Cooper (elbow) both left Sunday’s game early.
Miami will go with a bullpen game in the series opener against Washington with left-hander Ross Detwiler getting the start. It will be the 100th career start for the 13-year veteran. He has bounced between the rotation and the bullpen his whole career with 99 starts and 157 relief appearances. The first seven seasons of his career were spent with the Nationals after they picked him sixth overall in 2007.
Detwiler has made 32 appearances this season and has a 4.19 ERA and 3.70 FIP. This will be his fifth game as the opener, and he has not pitched more than three innings all year and will likely only go an inning or two tonight. This will be a tough task for a bullpen that has been used for 18 innings over the last three days. John Curtiss, Anthony Bender, Steven Okert and Zach Pop could all potentially be unavailable.
Miami has struggled to score runs most of this season. The Fish rank 27th in the league with just 3.98 runs per game. They’re 29th in the league with a wOBA of just .296.
Jesús Aguilar and Miguel Rojas have been on fire for the Marlins, with Aguilar batting .375 and Rojas at .347 over the last two weeks. Aguilar has three home runs and 10 RBI in the last five games. Miami will need them to keep rolling if Chisholm is going to miss some time.
Soto Heating Up For Nationals
The rest of the league should be very, very nervous because I have a feel we are about to see Juan Soto go on an absolute tear. After batting .351 with a 1.185 OPS last year and looking like he was going to take over the league, Soto got off to a slow start this season. He finished the first half batting .283 with just 11 home runs.
A lot of teams worry about the Home Run Derby hurting a player’s swing, but for Soto, he admits the Derby actually helped his swing. During the first half of the season, Soto had the highest ground ball rate and lowest fly ball rate of his career, putting the ball on the ground 55% of the time.
Well, since the Home Run Derby, Soto is 7-for-13 (.538) with three home runs and six RBI and looks to have recaptured his old form. His two-run home run Sunday gave the Nationals the lead in the eighth inning. Don’t be surprised if he puts together a dominant second half.
Washington will have left-hander Jon Lester on the mound Monday, and there is no denying that the once-dominant ace has seen his production fall off a cliff. At age 37, Lester is just 2-4 with a 5.54 ERA and 5.68 FIP this season. Lester has never been known as a big strikeout guy, but his 5.97 K/9 is the lowest of his career and in the bottom 2% of the whole league.
Don’t expect Lester to go too long in this game because he is averaging just 4 1/2 innings per start and completed six innings just twice in his 14 starts. Lester has already faced the Marlins twice this season. The first start went very well, as he tossed five shutout innings in April. The second time was a disaster, as he allowed seven runs before getting pulled in the third inning a month ago.
This line opened last night with Miami -120 and Washington +100. With money coming in on the Nationals, it has since flipped to Washington -125 and Miami +105. I agree with the line movement and feel the Nats are the better team in this spot. They are 5-2 against the Fish this season, and 3-0 at home.
While I think the Nationals win this game, I just don’t love the idea of laying -125 when Jon Lester is starting and would need closer to -110 or -115 to feel comfortable playing Washington. Instead, I will just back the Nationals’ offense.
Over the last 30 days, the Nationals have scored the second-most runs in baseball with 137. They have the best batting average in the league over that stretch, batting .285, and rank second with a .363 wOBA.
Josh Bell and Josh Harrison have finally gotten the bats going and Trea Turner has been excellent all season. Like I said earlier, I think Soto is about to get on a scorching run, so I like the firepower this offense is capable of producing today.
Miami is going with a bullpen day, but their relievers have had to throw 18 innings over the last three days and some of their top arms could potentially be unavailable. I like the Nationals team total to be over 4.5 runs at -105 and would play it to -110.
Pick: Washington Nationals Team Total Over 4.5 (-105)