Cleveland Indians (93-67) at Washington Nationals (91-69)
MLB: Saturday, September 28th, 2019 at 4:05 pm ET (Nationals Park)
Line and Odds: Washington Nationals -225/Cleveland Indians +175 Over/Under: 9
Free ESPN MLB Picks Washington Nationals vs. Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians had their playoff dreams come to end last night with Tampa Bay’s 6-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. Earlier in the night, the Indians suffered an 8-2 loss against the Washington Nationals to put their playoff hopes on life support. When Cleveland needed to be at their best, they sputtered down the stretch. The Indians have lost their last 3 games by a combined score of 24-5. After the game, manager Terry Francona admitted that “they’re about out of gas,” when addressing the media. This was clear from watching the game last night. Cleveland was tied with Washington 2-2 going into the 6th inning. The Nationals put up 5 runs in the bottom of the 6th inning, and that pretty much sealed Cleveland’s fate. The Indians could only muster 3 hits in the entire game. They are currently 93-67, 7 games behind the Twins in the AL Central. They are 3 games behind the A’s and Rays for the AL Wild Card spot with just 2 games left. Despite their late season struggles, the Indians had a 2019 season that they can be proud of. It’s rare to see a 93 win team with a .581 winning percentage miss out on the playoffs, in this era. They have the 7th best run-differential in the MLB at +121. Cleveland had a very strong year, just not strong enough.
To some extent, the Indians’ offense was what held them back this season. The Indians are 18th in scoring, averaging 4.75 runs per game. They hit for 14.45 total bases per game this season, ranking 20th in total bases accumulated. Cleveland ranks 15th in on base plus slugging with an OPS of .755. They also ranked 15th in slugging percentage and on base percentage. What allowed them to have such a strong run differential was their ability to limit opposing teams from scoring. Cleveland allowed just 3.99 runs per game, which ranked 3rd in runs allowed. Their pitchers rank 4th with an overall WHIP of 1.214. The Indians’ OPS against of .720, ranked 6th-best in baseball. Today’s starting pitcher for the Cleveland Indians will be Adam Plutko. He is a 27-year-old right-hander with 39 career appearances in Major League Baseball games. This season, he has a 4.25 ERA and a 7-4 record. Plutko has pitched 108 innings in 20 MLB pitching appearances (19 as a starter and 1 as a reliever) in 2019. Adam Plutko has a 5.23 FIP, 1.222 WHIP, and 3.13 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He has given up 9.0 hits, 1.8 home runs, and 4.42 runs per 9 innings.
Unlike the Cleveland Indians, the Washington Nationals have secured a spot in the MLB postseason. Washington will be one of the 2 NL Wild Card participants, along with the eventual runners-up of the National League Central (St. Louis Cardinals or Milwaukee Brewers). The Nationals’ now look to clinch home-field advantage in the NL Wild Card game. They can do so by beating the Cleveland Indians, today. If they can, it will give them a huge edge over their eventual opponent. It is a single-elimination game, so having home-field advantage is invaluable. The Washington Nationals are 91-69 on the year, 6 games back of the NL East champion Atlanta Braves. Washington was able to clinch a playoff spot because of their strong play down the stretch, and the precipitous downfall of the Chicago Cubs. They are 8-1 in their last 9 games, while the Chicago Cubs lost 9 straight down the stretch. Washington was able to clinch their playoff spot with a win over the Philadelphia Phillies, which must have been extra sweet considering the Bryce Harper-led Phillies will miss the playoffs. Even though the Nationals are forced to participate in the wild card game, they have the 2nd best run differential in the entire National League. They have beaten their opponents by a total of 140 runs this year, 2nd only to the Dodgers’ mark of +262. If they can win their wild card game, they will be a difficult team to beat in the playoffs.
Washington has been a well-balanced baseball team, this season. They rank 6th in scoring, putting up an average of 5.34 runs per game. They also rank 6th with an on base plus slugging percentage of .794. The Nationals ranks top 10 in both offensive strikeout percentage, and offensive walk percentage. This is how Washington has been able to maintain an on base percentage of .341, the 2nd-best OBP in baseball. The Nationals also have a top 10 team, defensively. They rank 9th in runs allowed, giving up 4.47 runs per game. Their OPS against of .725 ranks 8th in the Major Leagues. Their pitchers rank 9th in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 2.94. It is a solid team in all areas. The Washington Nationals will send Patrick Corbin to mound as today’s starting pitcher. The left-hander has backed up his all-star 2018 season with a strong 2019. Corbin has gone 14-7 in 32 starts, this season. He has pitched 197 and 2/3 innings in 32 pitching appearances. Corbin has a 3.05 ERA, which is actually better than his 2018 ERA when he finished 5th in the Cy Young voting. Corbin has a 3.35 FIP, 1.164 WHIP, and 3.38 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He gives up 7.4 hits, 1.0 home run, and 3.41 runs per 9 innings.
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Cleveland’s last 6 games.
Cleveland is 2-4 SU in their last 6 games.
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Cleveland’s last 10 games on the road.
Washington is 6-0 SU in their last 6 games.
Washington is 7-0 SU in their last 7 games at home.
Washington is 5-2 SU in their last 7 games when playing at home against Cleveland.
ESPN MLB Scores Cleveland Indians vs. Washington Nationals
I’m taking the Washington Nationals -1.5 (-110) in this matchup. This is a play based on the situation today. The Indians are deflated after being officially eliminated from the playoffs. No matter what the sport is, I always look to go against a team whose season’s dreams were crushed in the previous game. It is hard to get psyched back up for a game when you’ve failed to meet your goal. Terry Francona already admitted that the Indians are out of gas. Imagine how lifeless they will be today when they know they have nothing to play for. On the other hand, the Nationals are motivated to put on a good performance. They want to get the win, clinch home-field advantage in the Wild Card game, and take Sunday off. The Nationals are incentivized to get this victory, while the Indians have no reason to be at their best today. Washington will have one of their best pitchers on the mound and I expect him to be at his best today. Take Washington on the runline.