Don’t look now, but I’ve hit nine of my last 11 selections, including the Tigers’ 8-6 come-from-behind victory over the Angels last night. The run continues tonight as I take advantage of a line that makes less sense than the Kardashians’ fame. The Nationals (51-36) own the best record in the National League and the third-best record in baseball. They’re six games ahead of the Mets in the NL East standings, as New York has dropped seven of 11, including four in a row overall and four in a row on the road. Granted, the Nationals, who lost 5-3 in Miami last night, haven’t exactly been rolling (they’ve alternated wins and losses in their last eight contests). But they haven’t dropped two in a row since June 24-25, winning six straight following a defeat.
Does New York have a big advantage on the mound tonight? Hardly. In a battle of southpaws, the Mets’ Jon Niese (7-4, 3.73 ERA) opposes Ross Detwiler (4-3, 3.43). Both pitchers barely average six innings per start, which means the bullpens are certain to come into play. Here’s where I mention
that Mets’ relievers have a 4.90 ERA, while the Nats’ relievers have a 3.07 ERA. True, Niese has been outstanding in his last three starts against Washington (three runs allowed in 19 1/3 innings), and New York is 3-1 all-time when Niese faces the Nats. But Washington is 3-1 all-time when Detwiler opposes the Mets (with the lefty yielding just two runs and five hits in the last two outings covering 10 2/3 innings).
Finally, there’s this: The Nats are 4-1 in Detwiler’s last five starts at home, 7-0 in his last seven starts against the NL East, and Washington has won eight of the last 10 meetings in this rivalry (including four of the last five this season).
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Monday’s Result: Tigers (-120) vs. Angels (Win)