Washington will play the second game of its four-game series in San Diego on Friday night. The Nationals lost two out of three against the Cubs earlier this week, while the Padres suffered the same fate against Miami. This story was published prior to Thursday night’s series opener between the Nationals and Padres.
Nationals have worst record in MajorsWashington continues to struggle as it looks towards the future. The Nationals have emptied the cupboard in a rebuilding process, so they are simply hoping to find some young talent that can be useful in future seasons. They have not won consecutive games since July 26, going 5-15 in their 20 games since then. Washington lost two out of three games against the Cubs earlier this week, falling in extra innings on Tuesday and losing in a 3-2 final on Wednesday. The Nationals not only have the worst record in the National League, but they also have the worst record in the Majors.
They still rank in the top half of the MLB offensively, sitting at No. 12 in batting average (.248). However, their numbers have continued to decline since trading Juan Soto. Second baseman Cesar Hernandez leads the team with 115 hits. He will be facing a San Diego pitching staff that ranks ninth in the Majors with an ERA of 3.76. Right-handed pitcher Paolo Espino is going to start for Washington on Friday night. He allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks across 5.2 innings against San Diego on Sunday. Espino has posted a 5.79 ERA and 1.46 WHIP in 23.1 innings since the All-Star break.
Snell dominant in last five startsSan Diego was hoping to make a push for a World Series title this season when it acquired Soto from Washington several weeks ago. The Padres are going to have a more difficult time achieving that goal after star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. was suspended for the remainder of the season due to a positive test for a banned substance. He had not been on the field this season because of an injury, but he was set to return soon. The Padres have lost eight of their last 13 games, falling in two out of three games against Miami earlier this week. They are still in the playoff picture though, leading Milwaukee by one game for the final NL Wild Card spot.
Kim-sanity. pic.twitter.com/1ur0SxPyaK— San Diego Padres (@Padres) August 18, 2022
The Padres have been a decent offensive team this season, ranked No. 16 in batting average (.242). Star third baseman Manny Machado leads the way with 129 hits, including 22 home runs. Second baseman Jake Cronenworth and left fielder Jurickson Profar each have 105 base knocks. They will be facing a Washington pitching staff that is dead last in the majors with an ERA of 5.22. Left-handed pitcher Blake Snell is going to start for San Diego on Friday night. He allowed three hits and no walks across six scoreless innings against Washington on Sunday. Snell has been dominant in five starts since the All-Star break, going 4-1 with a 0.94 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP in 28.2 innings.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
This is about as heavy as you will see a team favored to win a game in MLB, but I am still going to take San Diego on the run-line. The Nationals are in a free fall as they look towards the future, while the Padres are fighting for a playoff spot. Those factors are meaningful, but the pitching matchup is the real reason why I want to lay the lumber with the home team. Snell has been brilliant since the All-Star break, posting a sub-1.00 ERA in his five starts. He just threw six scoreless innings against a bad Washington lineup on Sunday, and I would be surprised if he allows more than one run on Friday.
Full-Game Total Pick
These teams have gone over the total in eight of their last 10 head-to-head meetings, but I am going to go the other way with this pick. Snell has been untouchable for most of the season, which has certainly been the case since returning from the All-Star break. He has gone 4-1 with a 0.94 ERA across his last 28.2 innings on the mound, and a terrible Washington lineup is not going to trouble him on Friday. Espino put together a decent outing against San Diego on Sunday, nearly making it through six innings. If he can avoid giving up a crooked number in this game, the under is going to be in good position.