Oddly enough, the Cincinnati Reds, who have been underachievers this season, have done extremely well against the National League East-leading Washington Nationals, winning all four meetings between the squads this season. Now they will try to make it five in a row, although they have a massive roadblock in front of them as they take the field in the nation's capital in a game beginning at 7:05 PM ET. Remember that at BetAnySports, you can place wagers even after the opening pitch, with dynamic numbers on the side, total and various props through the magic of Live Betting Extra.
The Nats are 46-37 after losing the series opener on Monday. They are 3.5 games ahead of the New York Mets in the NL East. Cincinnati is out of the division race at 37-44, 16.5 games back of the St. Louis Cardinals. However, they have a feint chance of a wild-card spot, as they are only seven games behind in that category.
Cincinnati sends its best starting pitcher to the mound in Johnny Cueto, who is 5-5 but has an excellent 2.84 ERA. Washington hands the ball to the guy who has probably been the best starting pitcher in the major leagues this season, Max Scherzer, who is proving to be worth every penny after signing one of the biggest free-agent contracts in history, and could be in line for his second Cy Young Award. He currently sports a modest 9-6 record, but has a sparkling 1.82 ERA which is second in the big leagues.
In the baseball betting odds that have been posted on this game by the people at BetAnySports, the Nationals are naturally favored:
Washington Nationals (Scherzer) -140
Cincinnati Reds (Cueto) +130
Under 6.5 runs -115
Over 6.5 runs -105
How good has Scherzer been? Well, he pitched a complete game one-hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers on June 14, striking out 16 batters, then came back six days later and threw a no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates, with 10 strikeouts. Over his last four starts, the opposition is hitting .099, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio is an insane 42-to-1 over that period. He has given up eleven hits in his last 34 1/3 innings.
It is not even a mild surprise that Scherzer leads both leagues in WHIP ratio, by a rather wide margin, at 0.78. He has given up less than six hits per nine innings. Only Zack Greinke (1.48) has a lower earned run average. And his overall strikeout-walk ratio is 9.93, which is more than 5- 1/2 strikeouts better than his Cy Young season two years ago. In fact, almost all of Scherzer's numbers are better than they were when he captured the Cy Young as a member of the Detroit Tigers.
That is, aside from the won-loss record, and BetAnySports customers are well aware of that. Scherzer's lifetime winning percentage is .641, but losing six games this season is a pretty good indication of the kind of offensive support he's gotten. It is almost a certainty that he will have more defeats this year than he did in the last two combined, when he went 39-8 and brought about such great demand in the free-agent marketplace.
If the recent series history between these two teams is any indication, Scherzer will have to be at or near the top of his game to keep Washington competitive. The Nationals have scored just 11 runs in the four meetings against Cincinnati this season. Scherzer has gone the distance in three of his last four outings, which is interesting in that before this season, he had only one complete game in 198 career starts. So could he take the ball and do it all by himself? We'll see. The opposing pitcher, Cueto, is a very popular name mentioned as possible trade bait, since he is the in the last year of his contract and Cincinnati doesn't look like it's going anywhere.
Except, of course, when it comes to playing against the Nationals.
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