Arizona Diamondbacks (16-11; 14-12-1 O/U) vs. Washington Nationals (17-8; 14-9-2 O/U)
MLB: Tuesday, May 2, 2017, at 7:05pm EST
Line: Washington -140/Arizona +130
The first place Washington Nationals will host the Arizona Diamondbacks in the series opener Tuesday night at Nationals Park. The Diamondbacks will hand the ball to 24-year old right-hander Taijuan Walker, and the Nationals will turn to 30-year old right-hander Tanner Roark. The Nationals won five of seven over the Diamondbacks last season.
Walker Tosses Gem in Win Over Padres
Tajuan Walker will get the call for the sixth time of the season, looking to improve his record to 4-1. Walker was outstanding in his previous effort, holding the Padres to only two runs over eight innings and was awarded the victory. The young right-hander has pitched well in three of his five outings and is sporting a 3.94 ERA along with a strong 1.15 WHIP in 29.2 innings pitched. Walker has accumulated 33 strikeouts in 29.2 innings pitched on the season, resulting in a dazzling 10.01 K/9 ratio. The Diamondbacks often fly under the radar, however, this team can flat out hit, now featuring four players with 19 or more RBI’s which includes Chris Owings who is red-hot at the dish. Owings has crushed three homers along with ten RBI’s over his last seven games. The 25-year old shortstop is now hitting .311 with four home runs and 19 RBI’s on the season. Owings hit .321 with two RBI’s in seven games against the Nationals last season.
The Diamondbacks deep lineup is averaging 5.22 runs per game, good for third in the Majors, and are hitting .269 as a team. The Arizona pitching has been solid, posting a 3.85 team ERA, placing them eighth overall.
Roark Looks to Remain Undefeated on Season
Tanner Roark will take the mound for the sixth time of the season, looking to improve his record to 4-0. Roark allowed two runs in five innings pitched for the Rockies in his previous start and notched the victory. The veteran right-hander had a great month of April, allowing three or fewer runs in each of his starts, and features a 3.64 ERA along with a 1.18 WHIP in 29.2 innings pitched. He has enjoyed success against the Diamondbacks lineup, posting a 2.51 ERA and a 1-1 record in 28.2 career innings against them. Paul Goldschmidt is 2 for 8 with a RBI against Roark, while Jake Lamb is 1 for 5 with a homer, and Yasmany Tomas is 2 for 6 with two homers. The Nationals now feature three players with 25 or more RBI’s which includes Daniel Murphy who continues to rake. Murphy has launched two homers along with 12 RBI’s over his last six games. The career .297 hitter is now hitting .343 with five home runs and 26 RBI’s. Murphy went 7 for 12 with a homer and four RBI’s in 3 games against Arizona last season.
The Nationals offense is red hot, now averaging a remarkable 6.80 runs per game which is the best in all of baseball, and feature an incredible .295 team batting average. The Washington pitching has been subpar, posting a 4.49 team ERA, placing them 24th overall.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are:
- 1-5 in their last 6 games following on an off day.
- 9-23 in their last 32 games against Washington.
- 11-26 in their last 37 road games against a right-handed starter.
The Washington Nationals are:
- 4-1 in Roark’s last 5 home starts.
- 22-7 in Roark’s last 29 starts overall.
- 5-1 in Roark’s last 6 games against the NL West.
I am taking the Nationals in this one. I can’t go against the Nationals with how hot they been offensively. They lead the Majors in runs scored, batting average, and are second in homers, so I expect to see some runs from the Nationals bats. Also, Roark has been very steady, allowing three or fewer runs in each of his starts, and he has only conceded two homers, so I am confident he can hold down the Diamondbacks offense, plus he owns a strong 2.51 career ERA against Arizona.