This Sunday the (22-11) Houston Astros and the (11-23) Washington Nationals will play their final game of this three-game series. The first pitch will be thrown out at 1:35 PM EST inside Nationals Park. This is the first time that these two teams have faced off in the 2022 regular season.
The Houston Astros are coming into this game after winning their third consecutive series. They have now taken down the Seattle Mariners, Detroit Tigers, and Minnesota Twins. They also won the first game of this series against the Nationals.
The Washington Nationals are entering this series after losing two of three games to the New York Mets. The Nats need to perform better at the plate if they want to avoid another series like the last. Their bats also stayed cold in the first game of this series.
This game was published/written before last night’s results.
The Houston Astros are Rolling!The Houston Astros have now won three series in a row before coming into this one with the Nationals. The Astros are also in first place in the AL West after winning their 11th straight game. On the offensive side of the field, Houston is currently scoring 4.15 runs per game and hitting .223 as a team. This is the 15th most runs scored per game, but the 25th lowest overall team batting average. The Astros need to do a better job of making contact with the ball, as their team batting average feels low for how many runs they score. This is partly because they also have men that can hit bombs when they are at the plate. Houston is currently hitting 1.32 home runs per game. This is the fourth-highest average in the MLB, as the Astros can change the game with one swing of the bat. I would also expect the Astros to stay somewhat conservative once they have reached base safely. They have only stolen 14 bases this season, which is the 22nd least amount of bases stolen in the league. They don't feel as if they need to move their runners into scoring position, as the middle of their order has plenty of juice to drive in their runs. I would watch for Yordan Alvarez, as he is currently leading his team in home runs and has the highest batting average. He has hit eleven home runs already to start the year and he is also hitting .280. He has been the most consistent hitter for the Astros this season and I expect him to stay aggressive at the plate in this one.
On the defensive side of the field, the Astros are only allowing 2.68 runs per game and have a combined team WHIP rating of 1.09. This is the least amount of runs given up per game and the fourth-lowest overall team WHIP rating. Reaching base against the Astros has been a very difficult task for opposing teams this regular season. Driving in these base runners is even tougher though, as their starting pitching has been great. They have already been able to record 15 quality starts this season, which is the second-most in the MLB. Their starters are finding different ways to go deep in these games and it is giving them a chance each time they step onto the field. Their bullpen has also been strong during this winning streak. They have multiple arms that they can rely on if their starter isn't pitching well. Houston has also only committed 12 fielding errors, which is the fourth-least amount of errors made in the field this season. They keep the ball in front of themselves and always know where to go to make the nearest out.
According to MLB.com, Justin Verlander will be starting on the mound. He has started this season (4-1) with a 1.55 ERA. He also has a .64 WHIP rating, which is one of the lowest in the league. Reaching base against him is a very tough task right now, as opposing teams haven't been able to hit him hard all season. He has also already pitched in 40.2 innings and has struck out 36 batters. I expect him to stay aggressive in this game.
The Nationals Need Offense!The Washington Nationals lost their previous series to the New York Mets before hosting the Astros. They are currently in last place in the NL East but have plenty of time to turn this season around. On the offensive side of the field, they are scoring 4.03 runs per game and hitting .252 as a team. This is the 17th most runs scored per game and the fourth-highest overall batting average. Washington has been able to reach base safely all season, but they have failed to show that they can consistently drive in runs. The Nationals have also struggled when they have men in scoring position. They don't have a ton of power littered throughout their lineup, as they are only averaging .74 home runs per game. This is the 26th lowest home run average in the league, which surprises me with all of the contact that they make when they are at the plate. I would also expect the Nationals to start becoming more aggressive on the base paths. They have only stolen 10 bases this season, which is the 25th least amount bases taken this season. They might benefit from moving their runners into scoring position earlier in the inning. I would watch for Josh Bell at the plate in this one. He is currently leading his team with the highest batting average, as he is hitting .342 to begin this new season. He has been the most consistent hitter for the Nationals this season and I expect him to stay aggressive at the plate in this one.
ᶦᵍⁿᵒʳᵉ ˢᶜᵒʳᵉ ᵖˡˢ— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 14, 2022
ALCIDES ESCOBAR WOW pic.twitter.com/pcI1H9QYFd
On the defensive side of the field, the Nationals have also been hit or miss. They are currently allowing 4.81 runs per game and have a combined team WHIP rating of 1.43. This is the 27th most runs allowed per game and the 28th highest overall WHIP rating. Getting on base against the Nationals has been fairly easy this season, as their starting pitching has not been good up until this point. They have only recorded five quality starts, which is the 27th least amount of quality starts in the league. They are relying on their bullpen too much right now, as they would benefit from one of their starters going deeper into the game. The Washington Nationals also need to work on their fielding errors, as they have already made 26 mistakes in the field this season. This is the 28th most errors committed this season and a huge reason why they aren't winning as many games as they would like. The Nationals can't continue to gift their opponent's free bases and expect to win.
According to MLB.com, Patrick Corbin will be getting the start on the mound. He has started this season (0-5) with a 6.06 ERA. He doesn't look like himself right now, as opposing teams have been able to hit him very hard to start this new season. He also has a 1.74 WHIP rating, which is one of the highest on his team. He will have to aim to limit the number of base runners that he allows in this game if he wants to last more than just a few innings.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
I will be riding with the Houston Astros in this one. They will have success at the plate against Corbin and stay solid on the defensive side of the field. They are currently allowing the least amount of runs per game and have the fourth lowest overall team WHIP rating. They are holding their opponents to just 2.68 runs per game, as they will look to silence the National's bats in the first few innings of the game. The Astros also have the advantage on the offensive side of the field, as they are scoring 4.15 runs per game and hitting .223 as a team. They have realized that their batting order is very deep and they have faith in all of their hitters to reach base safely. The Astros are also hitting 1.32 home runs per game, which is the fourth-highest average in the league. They have multiple men that can poke the ball out of the park and they will attempt to create as many offensive opportunities as they can.
The Houston Astros will have success on the offensive side of the field and they will cover the run line spread (-1.5).
Full-Game Total Pick
I will be taking the over (8) runs in this matchup. The Houston Astros are going to have success at the plate and score multiple runs throughout this game. They are currently scoring 4.15 runs per game, which is the 15th most runs scored per game. Washington has struggled on the defensive side of the field and I don't believe they are strong enough in the field to hold this Astro's offense. Houston will score the majority of the runs in this game and look great on the offensive side of the field. Washington has struggled in the field, as they are allowing the 27th most runs per game. They can't keep their opponents off the scoreboard and this is the main reason that this total will go over (8) runs. The offenses will show up in this one and there will be plenty of action on the offensive side of the field.
Take the over (8) runs and expect a ton of action on the offensive side of the field.