A doubleheader of key MLB action on ESPN on Wednesday night as the Washington Nationals take on the Atlanta Braves and the Seattle Mariners battle the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Matchup: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves
Date/Time: September 17, 7:10 p.m. ET
MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook
Probable Starters: WSH: Gio Gonzalez (8-10, 3.79) v. ATL: Alex Wood (10-10, 2.83)
Moneyline: Atlanta -113
The Washington Nationals have put away the NL East and the Atlanta Braves have fallen below .500 and are now well off the pace in the NL Wild Card standings. The Nationals clinched the NL East Division title, their second in three seasons, on Tuesday night with their 3-0 win. The job isn’t over for the Nationals even with the NL East title because home-field advantage throughout the National League playoffs is still up for grabs.
Gio Gonzalez will take the mound for the Nationals on Wednesday night. Gonzalez will make less than 32 starts for the first time since 2009 this season. He’s pitched better than his 8-10 record and 3.79 ERA this season, as his 3.20 FIP suggests that he has deserved a better fate. In 144.2 innings, Gonzalez has allowed just 10 home runs and has 145 strikeouts against 54 walks. The left-hander hit the DL with a 4.65 ERA on May 17 and has a 3.35 ERA since, though he is just 5-6 in that span.
Alex Wood has been terrific for the Braves this season, but a lack of run support has saddled him with a .500 record. As a starter this season, Wood is just 7-9 despite a 2.63 ERA. He is just shy of one strikeout per inning as a starter and has an excellent 3.81 K/BB ratio. Since rejoining the rotation for good on June 25, Wood is 5-4 with a 2.86 ERA. He’s done his part to try and keep the Braves in the race.
Gonzalez will be facing the Braves for the 12th time and he has had no luck in the past. Gonzalez is 2-8 with a 5.20 ERA and he’s 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in two starts this season. He has allowed 23 baserunners in 10.2 innings against the Braves in 2014. The Nationals are 14-11 in Gonzalez’s 25 starts for a profit of 0.20 units.
Wood is 2-1 with a 1.48 ERA in five career starts against Washington. The southpaw is 2-1 with a 1.86 ERA this season against the Nationals with 24 strikeouts in 19.1 innings. The Braves are 9-13 for a loss of 7.07 units in his 22 starts, which is a travesty.
Free MLB Pick: Washington Nationals
The Braves are scratching and clawing to stay relevant in the NL Wild Card hunt, but they might as well play the lottery instead. The Nationals need to keep winning to try and get home-field and avoid opening the postseason on the road. The Nationals celebrated on Atlanta’s field and that's special, but they have their sights set on bigger goals.
Matchup: Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Date/Time: September 17, 10:00 p.m. ET
MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook
Probable Starters: SEA: James Paxton (6-2, 1.83) v. LAA: CJ Wilson (12-9, 4.61)
Moneyline: Los Angeles -123
Every game is big for the Seattle Mariners right now and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim want to secure the top record in the American League in order to carry home-field advantage throughout the playoffs thanks to the AL’s All-Star Game victory. The Mariners trail the Kansas City Royals for the second wild card and time is running out as every game gains more and more importance.
James Paxton is one of the arms that the Mariners are counting on to complement Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma for the next several years. Paxton spent some time on the DL and in the minors earlier this season, but he has allowed nine earned runs in 47 innings since returning to the Mariners in the first week of August. That’s good for a 1.72 ERA. Opposing batters are slugging just .291 against Paxton in that span with just one home run.
The last few starts of the season are big for CJ Wilson because he may not be part of Anaheim’s ALDS rotation if he doesn’t start to improve. Wilson has not been much hep to the Angels in their quest to win the AL West. Wilson leads the American League in walks allowed and has a 6.64 ERA over his last 13 starts. The Angels have given Wilson plenty of run support, but he has not pitched well. In those 62.1 innings, opposing batters have a .333/.414/.484/.898 slash against Wilson.
Paxton will be facing the Angels for the third time this season. He is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings of work with 13 strikeouts against just two walks. The Mariners are 7-3 for a profit of 3.60 units in his 10 starts this season.
Wilson has faced the Mariners a lot in his career. In 56 previous appearances, 19 starts, Wilson is 14-8 with a 3.76 ERA against the Mariners. He’s 0-2 with a 6.08 ERA this season after going 3-1 with a 2.20 ERA last season. The Angels are 15-13 in Wilson’s 28 starts for a loss of 0.35 units.
Free MLB Pick: Seattle Mariners
CJ Wilson is hard to back at any price right now and the Angels have had plenty of problems with Paxton in his two starts this season. The very talented southpaw has a good arsenal of stuff to keep aggressive hitters off-balance. As for Wilson, his control issues are a major problem and he is putting a lot of pressure on himself to perform. That can be a detriment late in the year.