Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#955 Washington Nationals 8.5 vs.
#956 St. Louis Cardinals -115
Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at 7:45pm EDT
Written by Sporty Jordy

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#955 Washington
#956 St. Louis Cardinals
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When and where: September 17, 2019, Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO, 7:45 PM ET

After dropping the series opener, the Washington Nationals hope to even the score in Tuesday’s head-to-head tilt with the St. Louis Cardinals. The loss to the Cardinals marked the third defeat for the Nationals in their last four games. Meanwhile, the Cardinals bounced back from two straight losses at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers. Patrick Corbin will be the first to take the mound for the Nationals against Cardinals starting pitcher, Miles Mikolas.

Heart procedure keeps Martinez from traveling

Chip Hale, the Nationals’ bench coach, will be filling in the role as manager with Dave Martinez reportedly hospitalized after undergoing a heart procedure. According to general manager Mike Rizzo, via ESPN.com, Martinez underwent a minor cardiac catheterization in Washington on Monday. The Nationals are currently in the middle of a six-game road stretch, and there is no official word on when, or if, Martinez will be able to rejoin the team.

It’s an important stretch for the team as they’re still fighting for a wild card spot to sneak into the playoffs. They rank second behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East division with an 82-66 record on the season. After stunning the Minnesota Twins on the road, they were recently defeated by the Braves at home in a home series before losing Monday’s opener to the Cardinals.

Corbin is expected to get the start on the mound in Tuesday’s game. The left-handed New York native is 3-2 in his last five pitching outings, including a win over the Twins in a game where he allowed three runs in six innings. He is throwing a 3.20 ERA with 213 strikeouts on top of a 12-7 record.

Cardinals face a hellacious path to win the division

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel for the Cardinals, but the road towards that light is a dilapidated one full of spikes, landmines and all sorts of crazy entrapment devices. If the Cardinals have any hope of holding onto their lead in the NL Central division, they’re going to have to scratch and claw their way to the finish line, while simultaneously hoping the Chicago Cubs crumble along the way.

They still have seven more head-to-head meetings with the Cubs to ultimately decide the division. So they can’t afford any slip-ups even against a talented team like the Nationals. They were able to take the series opener and bounce back from consecutive losses with a 4-2 win over the Nationals on Monday night.

The Cardinals sit at the top of the NL Central division with an 83-66 record on the season.

Mikolas will do his part in trying to extend that record when he toes the rubber against the Nationals on Tuesday. The 31-year-old right-handed pitcher is throwing a 4.28 ERA with a 1.22 WHIP and 9-13 record. He recently picked up a win over the Colorado Rockies in a game where he earned five strikeouts while allowing three runs in five innings.

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The Cardinals are currently tied with the Atlanta Braves for the third-most home wins in the National League. Granted, the Nationals have been solid on the road this year, which means Tuesday’s game is going to be another wire-to-wire finish featuring two teams vying for a playoff spot.

However, I do have my concerns with Corbin on the road, where he clearly hasn’t played his best ball. If he gives the Cardinals a chance to get rolling at the plate, it would ultimately put the Nationals offense in a bind. Corbin got lit up the last time he faced the Cardinals’ lineup for six hits and six runs in only five innings of action.

Meanwhile, Mikolas had his way with the Nationals on the other end, finishing his game against them with a 1.50 ERA after allowing only one run in six innings. The Cardinals are holding opponents to a ridiculous slash line of .237/.313/.396. I like for Mikolas to have another strong outing and the Cards to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series.

Prediction: St. Louis Cardinals (+100)

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The Nationals and Cardinals have scored less than eight runs in three of their last four head-to-head games. Corbin didn’t look great against the Cardinals in his last outing, but I expect him to tighten up in his rematch, while Mikolas continues to do the same on the other end. The Nationals are one of the league’s better offensive teams, but they’ll run into another brick wall on Tuesday. I’m taking the under betting total here.

Prediction: Under (8)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys and all the Sun Drop you can drink.