On paper the May 22nd NL free pick is set up to be a pitcher’s duel when the winners of the last 3 NL Cy Young Award winners square off. It’s Washington’s Max Scherzer (2016, 2017) taking on the Mets’ Jacob deGrom. These are undoubtedly two elite pitchers still, but they’ve both also had uncharacteristic outings as of late. Oddsmakers are giving a slight edge to the Mets at home (-110) but there’s still value on Washington at +100. Plus, the O/U is just 6.5 meaning offense could be a rarity here.
Can Scherzer Get His Groove Back Here?
Rumors of Max Scherzer’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. That being said, the two time Cy Young winner is just 2-5 on the year with a 3.72 ERA. He especially struggled with his command last time out, walking 4 Cubs batters. The Nationals are just 1-6 in Scherzer’s last 7 starts, four of which have come as -150 favorites or better. Scherzer has faced the Mets twice this season already, striking out 12 on opening day but allowing 4ER two starts later at Citi Field.
Washington is just 2-8 in their last 10 road games and have gone 1-7 in their last 8 on the road vs. a RH starter. Anthony Rendon is hitting .400 with 3HR over the past week and Gerardo Parra is 7 for his last 15 (.467). As a team though, the Nationals are just 28 for 161 (.174) vs. deGrom and struck out as a team 10 times in the season opener vs. the Mets starter. There’s a reason Wednesday’s O/U is just 6.5 runs. Adam Eaton (5-13) and Trea Turner (9-28, HR) are two of the few Washington batters who have had success vs. deGrom.
deGrom Has Had His Issues as Well
While Scherzer is looking for a bounce back in the May 22nd NL free pick, the same can be said for the pitcher across the diamond in New York’s Jacob deGrom. The right-hander allowed 7 runs (6 ER) to Miami in his last start, the most scores he has given up in a game since 2017. The Mets lost that game 6-8 as -230 favorites with deGrom taking the L to push his record to 3-5 on the year with a 3.98 ERA. deGrom has had two other starts this season with 5+ ER allowed but he has also held opponents to 2ER or less in his other five outings. That includes a 0ER surrendered, 10K start in the season opener vs. the Nationals.
The Mets have taken the first two vs. Washington this week, 6-5 and 5-3. The history of the two starters say that likely there won’t be that many runs scored in Wednesday night’s tilt. Both teams have had bullpen issues recently however and New York has solid value as they aim for three in a row. Pete Alonso has hit HR’s on consecutive nights vs. the Nationals but is just 1-6 with 3K’s vs. Scherzer. As a team, New York has gone 21-137 (.153) vs. the Washington starter. Robinson Cano has just 3 hits in 19 AB vs. Scherzer (.158), but two have gone for home runs.
May 22nd NL Free Pick Betting
It wouldn’t take much for Wednesday’s game to go over with the total set at a minuscule 6.5. This is especially true as there were 9 runs scored in the 7th inning or later in Tuesday night’s contest. it’s possible that both Scherzer and deGrom dazzle in this one – but they’ve both also seen their share of issues on the season.
NL Free Pick: Nationals / Mets *Over* 6.5