The mysteries that come with the unpredictability of the season’s first month are nearly over. We’ve learned to expect the unexpected in April, as projected bottom feeders come out hot and supposed contenders struggle. But it’s usually in those examples that we see how things regress/progress toward original expectations over 162 games.
The NL East began more upside down than any other division in baseball after the season’s first two weeks. The Atlanta Braves reeled off five straight wins to start the season, while the Washington Nationals and their mighty pitching staff have started off running from behind. Atlanta’s five-game surge may have lasted just that long, as the Braves are now 10-10. Washington won it’s eighth game last night in Atlanta – a place the Nats figure to win frequently this year. They give the ball to one of their many aces Wednesday night.
It’s only fitting that the Nats went after Max Scherzer this off-season, which takes more attention away from their unofficial ace. He may not have Scherzer’s Cy Young, nor Strasburg’s fastball, but Jordan Zimmermann is as dependable as either. He was roughed up at Fenway Park about two weeks ago to the tune of 9 hits and 7 earned runs in 2.1 innings, which only brought attention to how good he had been before (and has been since).
Since July 22 of last year when he started a game in Coors Field, Zimmermann has made 17 starts, including one in the postseason. That game at Fenway Park was the only one that Zimmermann gave up more than 7 hits. And you have to go all the way back to May 12 to find another start when he surrendered more than 8. The 7 earned against Boston was also the only time Zimmermann allowed more than 3 in those 17 outings. So the point is that we can say, with about as much confidence as possible, that Zimmermann will give the Nats a quality start on Wednesday. And against a weak Braves lineup that has slugged just .316 career against him, it will probably be of very high quality.
For just a short -125 price, I’m willing to wager that it’s good enough to beat Alex Wood, whose 3.00 ERA doesn’t quite matchup with his 1.50 WHIP early on in 2015. Superior team with a superior starter at a reasonable price? Sounds like a bargain. Washington gets a second straight “W” in Atlanta.
Free Pick: Washington -125
2014: 45-28-3 +9.02