The struggles continued for the Washington Nationals as the defending World Series champions continue to languish in last place in the National League East 9 ½ games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves and are coming off two straight defeats at the hands of Atlanta. Washington was defeated in three or four games by the Braves. The Nationals have already started to look ahead to the 2020-21 season.
Tampa Bay holds a 3 ½ -game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays and is four games ahead of the third place New York Yankees. Tampa Bay remains at home to host Washington after splitting a four-game series at Tropicana Park with the Boston Red Sox, losing the final game of the series 6-3. Tampa Bay has stumbled a bit of late losing four of its last six.
Nationals holding their own at the plateThe Washington Nationals have little to brag about this season, but their play at the plate has been one of the few bright spots. The Nationals have the seventh-best team batting average in baseball at .263 and leading the way is left fielder Juan Soto who holds a team-high .354 batting average and also leads the Nationals in home runs with 11 and in RBIs with 31. Washington's slugging percentage of .433 is 12th best in baseball, while the Nationals have pushed across 214 runs which is the 19th most in baseball.
If in fact Washington is looking ahead to the 2020-21 season it's time to find new faces on the pitching staff. Washington has struggled all season on the mound evidenced by its team ERA of 5.19 which is 24th in baseball and it's 29th best WHIP of 1.53. Through 45 games of the regular season, the Nationals starting rotation has had only 11 Quality Starts which is 19th in baseball. Poor starts by the starting rotation puts more pressure on a below-average bullpen which in turn creates such a high team ERA. Austin Voth gets the nod on the mound Wednesday for the Nationals and the right-hander this season as yet to win a game going 0-5 with a 7.99 ERA. The Nationals have lost each of Voth's last four starts.
Tampa Bay losing its grip on first placeTampa Bay has lost four of its last six including two straight last week to its opponent today the Washington Nationals. The Rays have the 7th best team ERA at 3.85, but that is beginning to creep upwards as opposing hitters are now hitting .244 at the plate against Tampa Bay pitching which is 22 points higher than just two weeks ago. Due to Tampa Bay using a starting pitching rotation that includes relief pitchers, the Rays have only four quality starts this season which is 29th in baseball but for Tampa Bay that's a misnomer. An example of that is Wednesday's starter Josh Fleming, who is 3-0 with a 4.12 ERA, but in five starts has pitched just 19.2 innings.
You go, Nate Lowe pic.twitter.com/DWce3Aqp2f— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 15, 2020
At the plate, Tampa Bay does not hit for an average as the Rays have the 19th best team batting averages .239, but the slugging percentage is 11th best in baseball .433 and Tampa Bay has been able to push across 235 runs which is 8th best. Second baseman Brandon Lowe has supplied the power for Tampa Bay at the plate with 12 home runs and 30 RBIs, which leads Tampa Bay in both categories. Shortstop Willy Adames has the best batting average of regulars at .282.
- Tampa Bay has won seven of the last eight at home against an interleague opponent
- Tampa Bay is 24-9 in the last 33 overall
- Washington has lost 14 of the last 20
- The Nationals have lost 13 of the last 18 when playing as the underdog
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Washington Nationals have played poorly since opening day and sit in last place in the National League East. Washington has lost 14 of the last 20 overall and when tagged with the underdog label has lost 13 of the last 18. Washington will send Austin Voth to the mound who's ERA is an astronomical 7.99 and the right-hander is 0-5 in 5 decisions and the Nationals have lost each of his last four starts. Tampa Bay starting pitcher, Josh Fleming, is 3-0 with a respectable ERA of 4.12. Washington has lost six of the last seven played at Tropicana Park in Tampa Bay.
Prediction: Tampa Bay Rays -1.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Washington's team ERA is in excess of 5.00 and it's starting pitcher on Wednesday has an ERA of 7.99. The total has ended over in 21 of Washington's last 27 played on the road and in six of the Nationals last seven on the road against an interleague opponent.The total has also finished over in eight of Tampa Bay's last nine home games against an interleague opponent.
Prediction: OVER 9