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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Before the 2014 Major League Baseball season started, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Washington Nationals were on everyone’s short list for National League pennant consideration. Washington was the heavy favorite to win the NL East, particularly when Atlanta was hit with injuries. St. Louis was expected to rule the NL Central again.

Thus far, both teams are winning, if not particularly on fire. It seems very likely that we’re looking at two playoff teams barring a string of significant injuries. That means, this weekend’s four game series matching the two powers could very easily be a playoff preview.

If you’re a baseball fan, you’re going to be watching. Let’s run some numbers and see if we can find some market edges.



St. Louis: 4.14 runs per game, .315 on-base, .377 slugging

Washington: 5.07 runs per game, .341 on-base, .461 slugging

Washington has been explosive with the bats so far, which really jumps off the page this month when so many teams are dragging with the bats. St. Louis has been a disappointment, but is winning anyway. They’re pitching is generally so consistent that it doesn’t take Grade A offense for the Cards to win. When they get it, they’re close to unstoppable. Edge so far to the Nats.



Adam Wainright: 2.57 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 10.3 K-Rate

Taylor Jordan: 4.76 ERA, 1.76 WHIP, 6.4 K-Rate

Wainright in his standard ace form, going exactly 7 innings in all three starts…and throwing between 100 and 105 pitches. He’s only allowed one home run so far in his 21 innings of work. Jordan has only taken the mound twice this year, both coming against Atlanta. They hit him hard in a second look. That will be something to remember later this season when everyone starts getting a second 2014 look at him. Obviously the Cards are hoping to start out the series with a win given that pitching matchup.



Michael Wacha: 1.89 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 8.5 K-Rate

Gio Gonzalez: 3.50 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 8.5 K-Rate

Wacha has thrown three quality starts, all registering between 6.0 and 6.1 innings. The Cards may be yanking him before he gets into trouble given his low pitch counts. That works when you trust your bullpen. Gonzalez went exactly six innings in each of his three starts. Gio threw gems vs. Miami and the NY Mets, but had a very poor outing vs. Atlanta. The Nats are hoping for more consistency from him.



Lance Lynn: 4.00 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 11.0 K-Rate

Jordan Zimmerman: 5.27 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 11.2 K-Rate

Lynn struggled twice vs. Cincinnati, but then was overpowering in seven shutout innings vs. Milwaukee. Zimmerman has had two good starts, but one disaster vs. Miami that’s temporarily warped his ERA and WHIP. The ERA and WHIP you see above are misleading because Zimmerman’s disaster was so bad. He’s actually been more effective more often. Note that this is an early start on Saturday afternoon.



Shelby Miller: 4.67 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 7.3 K-Rate

Steven Strasburg: 6.00 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 14.1 K-Rate

Miller’s having some control problems, issuing exactly three walks in each of his three outings. He hasn’t lasted longer than six innings yet. There’s now a lot of concern about Strasburg in Washington. He’s had three poor outings in four starts, and has put 33 runners on base in 21 innings. That gaudy strikeout rate is awesome. But, when hitters are making contact…they’re doing a lot of damage. Is Strasburg trying to hide an injury? Who would have thought a Miller/Strasburg pitching matchup would see the ERA’s add up to more than ten?!

It’s going to be a huge sports weekend with all the baseball plus the start of the NBA Playoffs. We can’t say for sure right now that JIM HURLEY will be playing anything in this series. Early indicators are that he will be at least once. You can always purchase game day BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office during normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155.

We’ll be looking at marquee matchups in the NBA Playoffs the next two days. Even in the first round there are some fantastic battles in store featuring elite teams who have been on strong recent runs. Sundays are always reserved for the prime time MLB game on ESPN. So, we’ll talk about Orioles/Red Sox Sunday morning. Otherwise, look for in-depth NBA Playoff coverage on a near-daily basis through April and May. If you liked our college hoops coverage through MARCH MADNESS, you’re going to love the NBA Playoffs!

When championships are on the line, YOU NEED WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!

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