The Washington Nationals may have a 6-4 record over their past ten games, but they are coming off an incredibly brutal series in Philadelphia. After being no-hit and losing three out of the four games in the series, Washington is back home to take on the Oakland A’s. We’ll preview the game before going over which prop market I’ll be targeting for my play.
One might think that after being no-hit, an offense would come out exceptionally motivated and looking to tack on runs early, and while that may be the case, it’s not that easy. Michael Lorenzen no-hit Washington on Wednesday night, and with a chance to still sweep the series yesterday, the Nationals came out and picked up a double from the second batter of the game. Despite finding the hit column nine more times after that, Washington would fail to capitalize and would lose 6-2.
After seven games on the road, the Nationals are back home and will have right-hander Joan Adon on the mound for his second start this season. The right-hander was one of the worst starters in baseball last season, but after two relief appearances in July, Washington gave him his first start on August 5th against the Reds. In that outing, Adon would end up working six innings and allowing three earned runs on the way to a win.
In what will be his second chance to prove he belongs at the major league level, Adon will take on an A’s team that avoided getting swept on Wednesday by beating the Rangers 2-0 in the final game of their three-game set. Rookie Zack Gelof continued to impress since being called up by hitting a solo home run, while the Oakland pitching staff used five pitchers to get the shutout.
Gelof won’t be the only young and exciting player in the Oakland lineup tonight, as the team’s number seven prospect, Lawrence Butler, is expected to make his MLB debut. The talented outfielder will be playing behind starter Paul Blackburn, who is set to make his 12th start of the year. Blackburn was highly impressive in his most recent outing, throwing six shutout innings with seven strikeouts.
Paul Blackburn’s strikeout total is currently set at 3.5, and I’ll be taking the over, which is priced at (-138) for my play. The right-hander is averaging 5.25 strikeouts per game this season and 5.44 over his last ten outings. Over those ten outings, Blackburn has gone over tonight’s total in seven of those games. In fact, Blackburn has cleared seven or more strikeouts in four of those games.
While the A’s starter is sitting in the 50th percentile in strikeout percentage, he is in the 82nd percentile in chase rate. Blackburn has six pitches in his arsenal, four of which have 25% or higher strikeout percentages, including his most thrown pitch, the sinker (26.2%), and his most thrown off-speed, the slider (35.3%).
Washington does not have crazy strikeout numbers at the plate, but they still have the potential to go down on strikes often. The Nationals have the third-highest strike percentage in the league behind the White Sox and Royals, and five out of the last six right-handed starters they have faced have recorded at least five strikeouts against them. With Blackburn entering tonight off back-to-back seven punchout games, I think he can continue his success against a Nats team struggling at the dish.
Paul Blackburn Over 3.5 K’s (-138)