There’s definitely good value on St. Louis in the May 2nd NL free pick. Oddsmakers have set the Cardinals as +141 underdogs despite the team being on a 5-game winning streak and taking the first three at Nationals Park. Washington meanwhile has dropped 5 of the last 6 and is having a hard time mustering offense lately. The Nationals do have the pitching edge on paper Thursday, is that enough to justify the WAS -153 line?
Cardinals on Fire Heading Into Big Weekend
St. Louis is on a 9-1 run right now and has built up a 3 game lead over the Cubs in the NL Central. The Cardinals head to Wrigley for a weekend series with Chicago and could be in a look-ahead spot on Thursday. The Redbirds face a tough pitching matchup here, but have also built a top 5 run scoring offense that has the league’s 2nd best BA. The Cardinals have scored at least 5 runs in 7 of the last 10, and that’s with Paul Goldschmidt hitting just .200 over the past 6 games. Jose Martinez has definitely picked up some slack going 9 for his last 19 (.474)
St. Louis will send Dakota Hudson to the hill in the May 2nd NL free pick. The right-hander was a reliever in his rookie season a year ago, but has transitioned to starter for the 2019 campaign. Hudson has only thrown 90+ pitches once this season, so a lot of Thursday’s game looks like it will come down to the Cardinals’ bullpen. Hudson has allowed at least 3 runs in 4 of 5 starts this year, and has a 5.62 ERA on the season. Hudson has also struggled with the long ball, giving up 5HR the last 3 starts but that’s not a huge part of Washington’s game right now.
Washington Searches for Offense in the Series Finale
The Nationals have scored just 6 runs through three games in the series and have been held to 3 runs or less in 5 of the last 6. Howie Kendrick and Yan Gomes are the only two Washington everyday batters hitting over .275 the past 6 games. The Nationals have belted out 16 hits over the last two games vs. St. Louis, but it has resulted in just 3 runs total. 5 batters have faced St. Louis’ Hudson but just a total of 6 AB. Wilmer Difo has the only hit over that span vs. the Cardinals starter.
The O/U for Thursday’s May 2nd NL free pick is 9 which on paper looks on the high side as Stephen Strasburg is Washington’s starter. Strasburg has been absolutely dominant the last two outings, striking out 20, allowing just 6 hits, giving up 2 ER, and pitching 15 innings. Strasburg has had some rough outings, giving up 10ER total in the two starts prior, but only 3 Cardinals batters have ever faced the big right-hander. The Nationals are just 1-4 in Strasburg’s last 5 home starts however.
May 2nd NL Free Pick Betting
Even though the over is 21-5-1 in Strasburg’s last 27 home starts vs. a team with a winning record, today looks like a lower scoring contest. The Nationals just aren’t hitting and both pitchers have the familiarity edge over the opposing batters. There’s no value on Washington at -153, and the Cardinals are also a tough bet in getaway day with a series at Chicago looming. The total is the way to go.
NL Free Pick: Cardinals / Nationals *Under* 9