Washington has dropped to last place in the National League East standings with a 25-33 overall record. Meanwhile, the Giants continue to lead the pack in an ultra-competitive NL West race. San Francisco owns the best record in baseball at 38-23 through 61 games but the Giants own a slim 1.5-game advantage over the Los Angeles Dodgers for the division lead.
Can the Giants keep pace in the division race with a win on the road in the second game of their doubleheader against the Nationals on Saturday night?
San Francisco clinging to slim NL West leadThe Giants have been among the biggest surprises in the MLB this season and there has been no bigger surprise than the emergence of shortstop Brandon Crawford. Known as a defensive stalwart, Crawford has fine-tuned his approach at the plate over the years and found his power stroke this season. At age 34, the veteran has turned in an MVP-caliber campaign as a result, mashing 14 home runs with 41 RBIs to go along with a .261 batting average. Crawford ranks 13th in the MLB among position players with a 2.3 WAR, according to FanGraphs, and his .297 ISO ranks fifth in the MLB.
Brandon Crawford's day:— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) June 9, 2021
Set a franchise record ✅
Hit a go-ahead home run ✅ pic.twitter.com/CI8SDcwB6p
San Francisco has yet to announce a starter for Saturday’s doubleheader. Right-hander Kevin Gausman is expected to start one of the games. He comes in with a 7-0 record to go along with a 1.27 ERA in 12 starts. The Giants’ right-hander has never left a game while trailing this season. He has exited an outing with the lead 10 times and twice in with the game tied.
While Gausman is in the midst of a career year, the Giants’ right-hander has had his fair share of trouble with the Nationals. In nine career appearances versus Washington, Gausman is 5-2 with a 5.24 ERA.
Ross takes the hill in search of better results vs. GiantsWashington is scheduled to hand the ball to right-hander Joe Ross for the second game of its doubleheader against the Giants on Saturday. The Nationals will be hoping that Ross can eat up some innings in this start after Friday’s starter, Max Scherzer, left the game due to injury just 12 pitches into the first inning.
What can't Joe Ross do? pic.twitter.com/o6JOn2sUJI— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) May 27, 2021
The 28-year-old has struggled in his return to the Nationals’ starting rotation this season, going 2-6 with a 4.80 ERA in 11 starts. He matched a season-high with six innings of four-run (zero earned) ball in his last start but took a tough-luck loss versus the Philadelphia Phillies. Washington has dropped six of Ross’ last seven starts but he’s allowed two earned runs or fewer five times during that span.
While the Nationals’ right-hander hasn’t quite been as bad as his overall numbers might suggest, he hasn’t exactly shown signs of turning things around either. Ross has benefited from a .260 BABIP this season and has watched his home run rate nearly double from 0.98 in 2020 to 1.82 HR/9 in 2021.
This will be the third time that Ross has faced the Giants in his career. He went 1-1 with a respectable 3.60 ERA in the first two outings. Per Baseball Savant, current Giants are batting only .200 in 33 plate appearances off of the Nationals’ starter heading into Saturday’s matchup.
- Giants are 11-2 in their last 13 road games.
- Giants are 7-1 in their last 8 road games vs. a team with a losing record.
- Giants are 8-1 in their last 9 road games vs. a right-handed starter.
- Nationals are 4-9 in their last 13 overall.
- Nationals are 0-4 in their last 4 home games.
- Nationals are 1-7 in their last 8 games vs. a right-handed starter.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
This looks like a bad matchup for Ross on paper. The Nationals’ right-hander has given up 1.82 home runs per nine innings of work and a home run per fly ball rate of 18.6 percent. Meanwhile, San Francisco entered play on Friday tied for the MLB lead in home runs with 90 in 61 games. The Giants should be able to take Ross deep and take advantage of a taxed Nationals’ bullpen in this game. No matter who starts in the second game of the doubleheader for the Giants, take San Francisco to cover the run line on Saturday night.
Full-Game Total Pick
It’s hard not to like the over in this matchup, especially after these two teams found themselves tangled in a 1-0 affair on Friday. The Giants are due for some regression on offense after scoring three runs or fewer in three of their previous four games and this looks like a good spot for that to happen. Ross was fortunate to have all of his runs go unearned in his previous appearances but he’s now given up at least four runs in four of his last five starts. Take this game to go over the projected total on Saturday evening.