Before the season started, both the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers were expected to win their divisions pretty handedly. Almost a month into the season, neither team is over the .500 mark. In fact, the Nationals currently sit in fourth in their division and the Dodgers currently sit in third in theirs. While it is far too early to be concerned with divisional races, both teams are looking to get back on track. After splitting the first two games of the series, both teams will be looking for the series win on Sunday as the Washington Nationals (10-11) travel to Dodger Stadium to take on the Dodgers (9-10) with a first pitch scheduled for 8:08 pm ET. The Nationals will send Jeremy Hellickson (0-0, 3.85 ERA) to the bump to take on the Dodgers’ Alex Wood (0-2, 3.91 ERA).
The moneyline for the game is set at the Washington Nationals +160 and the Los Angeles Dodgers at -170. The over/under on total runs scored is set at 8.
Nationals Looking For Consistency
At this point in the season, the Washington Nationals are trying to find some consistency. In their last 12 games, the team is 6-6 and has not won more than two games in a row since they started off the season 4-0. Part of the issue for the Nationals is injuries. Star second baseman Daniel Murphy has not played all season long, center fielder Adam Eaton is on the 10-day disabled list and third baseman Anthony Rendon has missed a couple days now and is questionable for the game Sunday night. Adding to the woes have been sluggish starts from shortstop Trea Turner (.247 avg., 1 home run) and Ryan Zimmerman (.182 avg., 3 home runs).
One person who has not been in a funk, though, is Bryce Harper. Harper has stormed out of the gates to the tune of a .286/.467/683 slash line with 8 home runs, 19 runs batted in and has drawn 25 walks already. In a walk year, he is doing his part to help the Nationals.
The Nationals will send Jeremy Hellickson to the hill on Sunday. In his only start of the season, last Monday against the New York Mets, Hellickson took a no decision after throwing 4.2 innings, allowing 2 earned runs on 7 hits, while striking out 3 and walking 1. Hellickson will look to build off of his first start Sunday night.
Dodgers Look to Keep Rolling
After getting off to a really rough start to the season, the Dodgers have actually been playing pretty well this last week. They have won 5 of their last 6 games and look to keep it going as they send Alex Wood to the mound on Sunday. With the exception of one start, where he gave up 7 earned runs to the Oakland A’s in 3.2 innings, Wood has not pitched bad to start the season. In his last outing, he took a no decision in the Dodgers’ win over the Padres, throwing 5.1 innings, giving up no earned runs and striking out 7.
What has really helped turn it around for the Dodgers this week is a better output by the offense. In their last six games, the Dodgers have scored an average of a little over 7 runs. Even though they didn’t put up 7, they were able to muster 4 runs in a game started by Stephen Strasburg on Saturday night. In that game, Joc Pederson and Kike Hernandez homered off of Strasburg, and Cody Bellinger added his third of the season off of the bullpen in the 8th inning. Even though their offense is missing the consistency of injured third baseman Justin Turner, it does appear as if they are starting to resemble the National League Championship team of a year ago.
Dodgers Win The Series
With none of the aces (Scherzer, Kershaw, Strasburg) going, I think both teams are going to put up some runs on the starters. With that in mind, I think that Alex Wood is a little more likely to limit the damage then Hellickson and I think the Dodgers come out victorious. Take the Dodgers at -170.
If betting the over/under, I am taking the over. Both teams have averaged over 4 runs a game, and that is taking into account the Dodgers’ slow start. As previously mentioned, I think both starters will give up some runs, and I think the Dodgers might put up several on Hellickson. Take the over.