The Washington Nationals take on the St. Louis Cardinals in game one of their three-game series on Monday night from Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The Nationals have had one of the toughest opening stretches in the league and have lost both of the series they played, including four in a row going into Sunday’s finale with the Dodgers. The Cardinals had four in a row before dropping their last two games against the Brewers heading into Monday’s matchup. The Nationals need a series win to jump-start the engines, while the Cardinals want to get back to their winning ways after dropping their last series. Which team will start off another crucial mid-week series with a win?
Nationals Take On Another Playoff FoeAfter missing the opening series of the season against the Mets due to COVID issues, the Nationals are in the middle of a brutal stretch of series against three straight playoff opponents. Juan Soto led the way with a walk-off in their season opener, but since then the Nationals lost back-to-back games to the Braves to drop that series, then two straight against the Dodgers, with a good chance at getting swept going into the late tilt on Sunday. Speaking of Soto, one of the league’s you bright stars is hitting .333 so far, but still sits quite a bit of Ryan Zimmerman’s team-leading pace of .444. Shortstop Trea Turner leads with two home runs and Starlin Castro leads with four RBIs and is hitting .250 as he gets accustomed to his new environment. Washington is still a young lineup and there’s expected to be some growing pains, with the hope that the more experienced vets can lead the youngsters, especially leadoff hitter Victor Robles, towards a strong season.
According to MLB.com, Erick Fedde is expected to make his second start of the season on Monday night against the Cardinals after losing in his first start against the Braves on Wednesday. Fedde got shelled in his first start, giving up six hits and five runs in just 1.2 innings, and has never started against the Cardinals in St. Louis before. Fedde made two starts in the spring and pitched in five games total, throwing 8.2 innings, allowing ten hits and five runs, but striking out ten in limited action. Last year Fedde had eight starts, going 2-4 with an ERA of 4.29, but his WHIP was a career-low 1.371.
Fedde has faced the Cardinals once prior in his career, in a September 2018 start. At home he threw five innings, allowing four hits and four runs, striking out seven and walking two. According to Baseball Savant, St. Louis hitters have 16 at-bats and 20 plate appearances against Fedde taking back to when he entered the league. In that span, he’s given up six hits and four walks, good for a batting average against of .375. In a game where Fedde could easily get bounced early, the Nationals do have a few players to rely on out of the bullpen, probably most notably Daniel Hudson, who has been a starter in the past and has a win with no runs allowed this year.
Cardinals Looking For Bounceback WinThe Cardinals had won four games in a row going into Saturday, but dropped both games to the Brewers over the weekend and need a win to start the mid-week off strong. Picking up Nolan Arenado was a crucial offseason move for the Cardinals and he’s had success against Fedde in the past, going 3-5 with two walks and a home run. On the year he’s hitting .333 and has formed a strong spot in the middle of the lineup along with Paul Goldschmidt (.257) and Yadier Molina (.367). Dylan Carlson leads the team with three home runs and nine RBIs but is only hitting .207 on the season. Paul DeJong (.097) has had a rough start to the season, but Tommy Edman has built off his strong 2020 campaign to hit .282 out of the leadoff position before the heavy hitters take over.
DEAN-💣 pic.twitter.com/sjRzI8SrGp— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) April 10, 2021
John Gant will be making his second start of the season when he takes the mound on Monday after appearing mostly in a relief role over the last few seasons, according to MLB.com. Gant had a good spring training, appearing in four games and making three starts. He threw 14.1 innings, allowing seven runs, but striking out 13 along the way. In the opener last week against the Marlins he was incredible, throwing four innings of four-hit baseball and allowing only one unearned in the process, and striking out four. Not expected to start this year, he’s done a great job getting thrown into the fire early and often, and will look to continue to build his game as a starter.
Gant has six appearances all-time against the Nationals, two times each in 2019, 2018, and 2016. In 2019, he appeared for 1.1 innings in the first game, getting the hold and striking out two while allowing one hit. In his second relief appearance against the Nationals that season, he faced two batters, giving up a walk and a hit, and one earned run across 10 pitches. According to Baseball Savant, the Washington lineup has 32 at-bats and 37 plate appearances total against Gant since he entered the league. Across those at-bats, Gant has surrendered ten hits and four walks, good for a batting average against of .313.
The top team trends according to covers.com are: - Nationals are 0-5 in their last 5 overall. - Nationals are 0-4 in their last 4 games following a loss. - Nationals are 0-4 in their last 4 games as an underdog.
The top team trends according to covers.com are: - Cardinals are 5-0 in their last 5 during game 1 of a series. - Cardinals are 40-17 in the last 57 meetings against the Nationals in St. Louis.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Fedde got knocked around pretty good in his opener and this Cardinals’ lineup has more than enough firepower to make it a long night for him. Additionally, Gant looked really strong in his opening start and should be able to keep the Nationals’ lineup at bay. The Nationals are hitting .282 as a team, compared to .216 for the Cardinals, but the pitching is the key. Arenado has crushed off Fedde in his limited at-bats and the middle of the Cardinals’ lineup should feast against his pitching style, especially if they get a few of their younger players to find their stride on Monday. Goldschmidt and Molina will have plenty of chances to drive runners home and could really break this one open early.
Full-Game Total Pick
Both offenses have some pop in the lineup and Fedde struggled in his opening start, getting shelled in just a few innings of work. Gant looked great in his first time but still is a reliever by trade and can easily lose a game pretty quickly if he loses his momentum and handle of his pitches. Additionally, according to covers.com, for the Nationals, the over is 4-0 in their last four games vs. a right-handed starter and is 4-0 in their last four games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30. For the Cardinals, the over is 4-0-1 in their last five games as a favorite and is 6-0-1 in their last seven games as a home favorite.