Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#4963 Arizona Diamondbacks vs.
#4964 Washington Nationals
Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 1:05pm EDT
Written by Doug Gilghrist

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In a National League matchup of once-elite pitchers, Steven Strasburg and the Washington Nationals host Madison Bumgarner and the Arizona Diamondbacks in the finale of their four-game series on Sunday afternoon. After combining for 17 runs and 19 hits in the series opener on Thursday, the offenses took a break in game two, as they totaled just one run and eight hits on Friday. Kyle Schwarber broke a 0-0 tie with a walk-off home run in the ninth inning to lead Washington to the victory on Friday. Starting pitcher Max Scherzer added another milestone to his belt, as he passed Cy Young for 22nd on the all-time strikeout list on Friday. The two teams split the first two games of the series, but the Nationals came out on the winning side in Saturday's game three by a score of 6-2. Yan Gomes hit his first home run of the season and Ryan Zimmerman hit a pinch-hit homer for Washington, while Eduardo Escobar and Kole Calhoun went deep for the Diamondbacks in the game.

Diamondbacks continue to struggle

It has been a rough beginning of the season for the Arizona Diamondbacks, as they have dropped their last two games versus the Washington National. They will try and gain a split of the series in the finale on Sunday. After scoring 11 runs in the first game, Arizona has scored a total of two runs in their two losses in the series. The Diamondbacks are hitting just .217 this season, as they have now lost four of their last five games. Tim Locastro leads the team with a .269 batting average, while Escobar tops the team with six home runs and 10 RBI. Locastro, however, is headed to the IL after dislocating his finger on Saturday. Arizona's bats aren't the only ones that have struggled this season, as their pitching staff has an ERA of 4.89 this season. The Diamondbacks have now given up at least six runs in four of their last five games.

“We didn’t do things defensively,” manager Torey Lovullo said on espn.com. “Just couldn’t get a big hit."

Bumgarner was one of the best pitchers in the National League from 2014-16, as he was a combined 51-28 with a combined 2.88 ERA. In the last five seasons (including this season), however, Bumgarner is just 20-31 with a 4.02 ERA. This season, in three starts, MadBum is 0-2 with an 11.20 ERA. He hasn't pitched more than five innings in any of his three starts, giving up at least five earned runs in each game. Bumgarner has 15 strikeouts in 13.2 innings this season. He has faced the Nationals 10 times in his career, but he hasn't pitched against them since 2016. Bumgarner has just a 3-5 career record versus Washington, but he has a 2.69 ERA. The Nationals' batters have a career .273 batting average against Bumgarner in their careers.

Nats get first winning streak of 2021

It only took 12 games, but the Washington Nationals officially have a winning streak this season. For the first time this season, they have won two in a row. In each of their last four wins, Washington has given up two runs or less, including two shutouts. Juan Soto is having a pretty good start to his season, as he is batting .318 with two home runs and eight RBI. Starlin Castro leads the team with nine RBI. Trea Turner and Zimmerman also have two home runs this season for the Nationals. The Nationals have the third-best batting average in the Majors (and they are second in the National League) with a .276 mark. Washington has a 4.41 ERA so far this season.

Strasburg is coming off an awful start, as he gave up eight runs (seven earned) in four innings. He walked five and gave up three home runs in a 14-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. In his two starts this season, Strasburg is 0-1 with a 6.30 ERA. He was 18-6 in 2019, but over the last two seasons, he has just four starts, going 0-2 with a 7.80 ERA. Strasburg is 5-5 in his career versus Arizona with a 4.74 ERA in 13 appearances. The Diamondbacks have hit Strasburg very well in his career, as they have a .325 batting average with five home runs in 77 career at bats.

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The Washington Nationals may finally be hitting their stride, as they have won two in a row for the first time all season. They have outscored the Diamondbacks by a score of 7-2 over the last two games. Despite their overall struggles, the Nationals have continued to hit the ball well, as they are second in the National League in batting average. They have scored six runs in three of their last four games. Neither starting pitcher has fared well this season, but Steven Strasburg has shown a little bit of himself in his first start of the season. Bumgarner has been awful in all three of his starts. Look for Washington's hitters to continue their good work, and hand Bumgarner another loss.

Prediction: Washington -1.5

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Washington has scored five runs or more in five of their last eight games, while Arizona has scored five or more runs in six of their last eight games. Both Bumgarner and Strasburg have struggled this season, so expect those struggles to continue on Sunday. The Diamondbacks, despite their low scoring outputs the last two games, are still averaging well over four runs per game this season. Both teams are in the lower third in runs given up this season, as they both give up over 4.9 runs per game. The last 10 meetings between these two teams have averaged 11.4 runs per game. You can expect a game more like game one of the series, which was an 11-6 final, on Sunday.

Prediction: Over 8.5
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Written By Doug Gilghrist , "Doug Gilghrist"

Doug has a Journalism degree from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. He has been a passionate sports fan, especially Pittsburgh sports, for over 40 years. In his journalistic career, Doug has covered just about every sport imaginable and is now plying his trade for us here at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt. Doug has always been fascinated by numbers, especially as they relate to sports, so writing for this website is right up his alley.