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Free MLB Pick Monday

#901 Pittsburgh Pirates (Taillon) +105 over Washington Nationals (Roark) 6:05 PM CT

Jameson Taillon has some of the best numbers in baseball through three starts as the Pirates had a hot start out of the gate. After allowing just nine hits and two runs in more than 20 innings to start the season a correction has come swiftly with Taillon allowing 12 runs in his past two starts. Taillon will fall somewhere in the middle of those stretches by season’s end and his FIP is still substantially lower than his ERA. His BABIP has been low but his strand rate has also been extraordinarily low with 32 percent of his base runners scoring. His strikeout-to-walk ratio remains impressive and Taillon is still a candidate to put together an All Star caliber season, now catching underdog pricing.

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Washington knocked off Arizona Sunday but they caught a huge break with tough left-hander Robbie Ray leaving in the second inning due to injury. The Nationals have still been a disappointing team at 12-16 and Washington is incredibly just 4-9 in home games. Pittsburgh is 17-11 on the season and +21 in scoring differential as they continue to look like a team that plans to hang around in the playoff race while going 14-9 vs. right-handed starters.

After a tough-luck 2017 campaign Tanner Roark is a bounce-back candidate in the Washington rotation this season but so far he has overachieved despite picking up only one win. He has been far from dominant with at least two runs allowed in each of his last four starts and his FIP is nearly a full run higher than his respectable 3.77 ERA. Roark has benefitted from a .192 BABIP in 31 innings which is .114 lower than his career mark. Pittsburgh scored nine runs in six innings against Roark last season as this could be again a favorable matchup for the Pirates.

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Free MLB Pick Tuesday

#956 Chicago Cubs (Arrieta) -150 over Washington Nationals (Roark) 4:35 PM CT

Jake Arrieta allowed six runs against the Nationals in late June but that outing perhaps was a turning point in the season. Arrieta has been the ace of the Cubs for the past two years though he was passed up by Kyle Hendricks at some point last season. 2017 featured a disappointing start but Arrieta actually turned in excellent results from July on with a 2.26 ERA in his last 14 starts. On the season he has posted far better numbers at home and he is a great candidate to help the Cubs wrap up the series in Chicago Tuesday afternoon.

After losing games in which Stephen Stradburg and Max Scherzer started and pitched well the Nationals are down to Tanner Roark with the season on the line. Roark regressed from his fine 2016 season and is a rather unreliable option. He did beat the Cubs at Wrigley Field in early August but his ERA is 4.39 in his last 11 starts. Walks can be a problem and in a series where hits and runs have been rare Roark has allowed two or more runs in 10 of his last 11 starts.

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Washington’s bullpen couldn’t keep yesterday’s game tied as the Cubs have had the advantage in the late innings minus one big inning from the Washington lineup in Game 2. Washington’s playoff woes have continued as one of baseball’s most productive lineups has managed only 11 hits in three games. The Cubs were the better team last season and the better team in the second half of this season and this is a great opportunity with a reasonable price to seal the series Tuesday in Game 4.

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Free MLB Pick Tuesday

#923 Washington Nationals (Lopez) +145 over Baltimore Orioles (Gausman) 6:05 PM CT

Reynaldo Lopez might be a wild card for the Nationals down the stretch as the 22-year old has impressed through four starts with a 10.3 K/9 rate and a 3.32 FIP. He has benefitted from facing Atlanta twice but he is facing an Orioles team that has been erratic offensively of late and the once owners of the best home record in baseball are just 2-5 on the current home stand even after last night’s 4-3 win. Kevin Gausman couldn’t buy a win early in the season despite very effective numbers but he has been less effective down the stretch. Since mid-June his ERA is 4.70 with a corresponding 4.42 FIP and while he is generating strikeouts he has allowed 74 hits in 67 innings in that span including 13 home runs allowed. Gausman has far better numbers at home where the Orioles are 6-3 in his starts but a Washington lineup coming off back-to-back one-run losses will be ready for this matchup. The Nationals have an eight-game lead in the NL East as there is not great urgency but on the season Washington is 125 runs superior to Baltimore in run differential even with the Orioles staying in the playoff chase. Washington is 26-13 this season in the second game of a series and over the last 10 games the Nationals are batting .281 with 7.5 runs per game vs. right-handed pitching. Washington is 5-4 in the last nine games as an underdog and this is a favorable price on a talented young pitcher that should be well supported.

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Nelly’s Free MLB Pick – Tuesday

 

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#962 Arizona Diamondbacks (Ray) +140 over Washington Nationals (Roark) 8:40 PM CT

Over his last nine starts Robbie Ray has a 4.19 ERA but his FIP is just 2.70 as he has deserved better results. His strikeout rate has been very impressive with 11.9 K/9 along with a very respectable walk rate that has his K:BB ratio at over 5:1. A .353 BABIP weighs on the results but Arizona is getting much more from the 24-year old former 12th round pick than their highly-paid free agent acquisitions on the mound. Washington crushed Arizona last night behind Stephen Strasburg and after that embarrassing result with a 14-1 defeat this should be a focused Diamondbacks squad. Add that Washington is 16 games above .500 vs. right-handed starters but just two games above .500 vs. left-handed starters and Tuesday’s game should be a better opportunity for the home underdog even with the terrible home record for Arizona this season. Tanner Roark has a 2.96 ERA on the season but that figure has risen over his last 10 starts. His K/9 in that span is below 6.9 and he has allowed a great deal of hits despite going 6-2 in those outings. This could be a bit of a flat spot for Washington after a huge win Monday and now in the third city of a long road trip following up very big matchups with Cleveland and San Francisco. Washington has topped four runs just three times in the last 10 games despite the big output last night and the Nationals have lost their last three games vs. a southpaw starter.

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