Pittsburgh Pirates (72-85 SU, 82-75 RL, 62-89-6 O/U) vs Washington Nationals (95-62 SU, 76-81 RL, 67-80-10 O/U)
When: 7:05 PM EDT, Thursday, September 28, 2017
Where: Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.
Lines: Washington -148/ Pittsburgh +138
Major League Baseball action on Thursday evening and the National League Central will square off with the National League East as the Pittsburgh Pirates tangle with the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. in game one of their four-game series. Pitching Probables: Ivan Nova (11-14, 4.14 ERA) will take the hill for the Pirates and the Nationals will counter with Edwin Jackson (5-6, 5.40 ERA).
McCutchen Has Eight RBIs In Rout Of Orioles
The Baltimore Orioles have been an up-and-down team this year and so have the Pirates. A big reason why Pittsburgh will not be going to the postseason this year is that of the play of their offense, which is among the worst in the league. Andrew McCutchen has been a part of their offensive woes, especially in the second half as he has just 11 homers and has hit just .257 in the 2nd half of the season, compared to hitting .294 with 17 homers in the first half. Well, in game one of their series with the Orioles he showed just what he is capable of when he is locked. The Pirates won that game and McCutchen had four hits, including two homers, and eight RBIs in the win. His two homers were a grand slam (his first career one) and a three-run shot and the eight RBIs were a career high for him in a game. The Pirates have now won four of their last five games (prior to Wed) and have averaged 6.80 rpg in those games. Pittsburgh is 29-48 on the road and have averaged 4.14 rpg and have allowed 4.66 rpg in those games. Ivan Nova will toe the rubber for the Pirates and he has gone 11-14 with a 4.14 ERA in 30 starts on the year, including 0-2 with a 4.41 ERA in his last three starts and 3-12 with a 5.03 ERA in 18 starts on the road. Nova has gone 6-13 with a 4.44 ERA in 33 games (32 starts) during Sept/ Oct, while against the Nationals in his career he has gone 1-1 with a 3.09 ERA in two starts, including 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA on one start in this park.
Pittsburgh has been a poor offensive team this year so far as they come in ranked 28th in the league in scoring, putting up just 4.10 rpg, while also ranking 25th in hitting at .244 and 29th in homers with 148. On the mound, they have been decent so far as they come in ranked 13th in the league in ERA at 4.22, while also ranking 15th in WHIP at 1.36.
Offense Is Still Struggling For Washington
The Washington Nationals have been getting great pitching of late as they have a 2.97 ERA in their last 10 games and they have needed that pitching as their offense has been struggling of late. On Tuesday night, the Nationals took on the Phillies and lost the game 4-1. They have now averaged just 3.29 rpg in their last 14 games, which is 1.77 rpg below their season average. The good news is that they do have Bryce Harper back, who is hitting .324 with 29 homers and 87 RBIs on the year. On Tuesday, he played his first game since going on the DL back on August 13th and was 0-2 in the game. Still, he now has a few games to work out the kinks and get ready for the postseason. Gio Gonzalez has had a solid season, but he took the loss on Tuesday, allowing three ERs on five hits and five walks in 5.0 innings of work in the game. He is now 15-8 with a 2.75 ERA on the year. The Nationals have gone 45-32 here at home and have averaged 5.21 rpg and have allowed 4.22 rpg in those games. Taking the hill for the Nationals in this one will be Edwin Jackson and he has gone 5-6 with a 5.40 ERA in 15 games (12 starts) this year overall, including 5-6 with a 5.26 ERA in 12 starts as a member of the Nationals and 0-2 with a 15.68 ERA in his last three starts. Jackson has gone 19-27 with a 5.91 ERA in 89 games (59 starts) in Sept/ Octo and he is 10-9 with a 3.77 ERA in 27 games (23 starts) in this park in his career, while against the Pirates he has gone 10-3 with a 3.71 ERA in 21 games (15 starts).
Washington has been a very good offensive team this year so far as they come in ranked 6th in the league in scoring, putting up 5.06 rpg, while also ranking 4th in hitting at .264 and 14th in homers with 209. On the mound, they have been solid so far this year as they come in ranked 6th in the league in ERA at 3.84, while also ranking 4th in WHIP at 1.24.
- 3-10 in their last 13 during game one of a series
- 4-10 in their last 14 vs. a team with a winning record
- 8-2 in their last 10 home games vs. a right-handed starter
- 12-5 in their last 17 during game one of a series
The Pittsburgh Pirates are playing well at the moment, especially on offense, while the Nationals are just waiting for the postseason to start and they have really struggled on offense of late. The Pirates may have a slight edge on the mound in this one, especially with the way the Washington offense has been, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that Ivan Nova has gone just 3-12 with a 5.08 ERA on the road this year. The Pirates as a team are just 29-48 on the road for the year, including just 4-14 when Nova takes the mound. The Nationals finally have Bryce Harper back and I look for their offense to perk up some as the team heads to the postseason, plus we not that the Nats are 45-32 at home for the year and they have won 36 of their last 53 home games in this series. Take Washington in this one.