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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:58 PM

Thursday's Afternoon Tips

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Nationals (-145, 7) at Mets – 12:10 PM EST

The fall from grace for Washington (19-30) is a spectacular one this season as the Nationals are one of two National League teams to win less than 20 games. Washington has been swept only once this season, but the Nats are on the verge of receiving the broom treatment for a second time if they can’t beat the Mets (23-25) in the series finale at Citi Field.

New York knocked off Washington in Monday’s series opener following a disastrous weekend in Miami in which the Mets were swept. The Mets walked-off past the Nationals on Tuesday, 6-5 in a back-and-forth contest, while busting out for six runs in the eighth inning of Wednesday’s 6-1 victory.

Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer went toe-to-toe in a battle of the last two NL Cy Young winners as the Nationals led, 1-0 headed to the bottom of the eighth. Juan Lagares cleared the bases with a three-run double, followed by a three-run homer from newly acquired Rajai Davis to give New York only its third win in 14 Game 3’s of a series in 2019.

It’s Stephen vs. Steven in Thursday’s finale on the mound with Strasburg taking the ball for the Nats and Matz going for the Mets. Strasburg bounced back from a pair of road defeats to the Brewers and Dodgers (in which Washington was shut out each time) to silence the Cubs’ bats in a 5-2 victory last Saturday. The Nats’ fireballer dominated Chicago by striking out seven batters in eight innings of work for his fourth victory of the season.

Strasburg split a pair of starts against the Mets to open the season as he allowed four earned runs in six innings of an 11-8 home setback on March 30, followed by a 4-0 victory at Citi Field less than a week later by tossing 6.2 scoreless innings. Matz is coming off consecutive road losses at Milwaukee and Miami, but the New York southpaw is unbeaten in three starts at Citi Field this season. In his two starts against Washington, the Mets are 2-0, although he has produced two no-decisions in a pair of games that easily hit the OVER.

Rockies at Pirates (-130, 8 ½) – 12:35 PM EST

Colorado (22-25) began its six-game trip through the Keystone State by losing all three contests at Philadelphia, including two by one run each. The Rockies have rebounded nicely by capturing the first two games at Pittsburgh as Colorado seeks its first sweep of a three-game set this season.

German Marquez tossed eight innings of scoreless ball in Monday’s 5-0 shutout of the Pirates (24-22), while Jon Gray went seven innings and scattered seven hits in a 9-3 rout. Colorado scored three runs in the first inning, three in the third, and three in the fifth, while all nine Rockies’ starters recorded at least one hit. The Rockies’ offense continues to perform well of late by scoring five runs or more in six of the past eight games, while cashing the OVER five times in this span.

The Pirates wrapped up their 11-game road trip with three straight wins at San Diego, but the offense has produced a total of three runs in the past 18 innings. Pittsburgh owns a 7-1 record with Jordan Lyles on the mound, including a pair of road underdog victories over the Padres and Cardinals his two outings. Lyles struck out a season-high 12 batters in seven innings of a 5-3 triumph at San Diego last Friday, while the right-hander has compiled a 1.97 ERA on the season.

Antonio Senzatela has put together solid numbers away from Coors Field by owning a 2.95 ERA on the road, compared to a 7.27 ERA at home. The Rockies have not lost back-to-back starts made by Senzatela this season, as Colorado fell at Philadelphia, 2-1 in his last outing. It also marked the first loss by Colorado in the right-hander’s four road starts this season, while the Rockies are 5-1 to the OVER in Senzatela’s last six outings.

Phillies at Cubs (-107) – 2:20 PM EST

Both these teams have eyes on October baseball as Chicago (28-18) seeks the series victory over Philadelphia (28-20). The Phillies held off the Cubs in extra innings on Monday, 5-4 thanks to the game-tying run scored in the ninth and the go-ahead run scored in the 10th on a J.T. Realmuto solo home run. The Cubs bounced back on Tuesday with a 3-2 walk-off win to snap Philadelphia’s four-game winning streak thanks to Javier Baez’s pinch-hit RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Chicago erased a 3-0 deficit in Wednesday’s 8-4 triumph over Philadelphia as the Cubs plated eight unanswered runs from the third through the seventh inning. Former Phillies’ standout Cole Hamels didn’t last to the fifth inning as he allowed nine hits and three runs in four innings, but right-hander Tyler Chatwood tossed four solid innings of relief for the win. The Cubs went deep three times, including Anthony Rizzo’s game-tying three-run shot in the third inning.

Jon Lester tries to rebound from his worst start of the season at Washington in which the Cubs’ left-hander was tagged for five runs and 10 hits in 5.1 innings of a 5-2 setback. The Cubs are 3-1 in Lester’s four starts a Wrigley Field, while he has allowed only one earned run in this stretch. Lester dominated the Phillies last September at Citizens Bank Park by tossing six scoreless innings in an 8-1 rout.

Aaron Nola counters for Philadelphia as the Phillies’ ace has rebounded from a tough start to the season. Nola gave up 15 earned runs in his first three outings, but the former LSU standout has given up only 10 earned runs in his past six trips to the mound. Nola struck out a season-high 12 batters in six innings of a 2-1 victory over the Rockies his last time out, while the Phillies are 2-0 in two road starts this season.

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