|WAS (110) @ caesars|
My 9* Las Vegas Insider is on the Was Nationals at 7:05 ET.
The St Louis Cardinals were kept off the field from July 30 through August 14 last season but somehow managed to earn a wild card spot with a 30-28 record (team's 7th postseason appearance in the last 10 years). The Washington Nationals made a memorable run in winning the 2019 World Series but followed by going just 26-34 in 2020, finishing last in the NL East. The pandemic-depleted Nationals opened the 2021 season 1-5 but have won four of their last seven (now 5-8).
These two teams met in a three-game series April 12-14 in St Louis, with the Cards taking two of three. Monday is the opening contest of a three-game series in Washington, as Jack Flaherty (2-0, 4.11 ERA) makes his fourth start of the season for St. Louis, opposed by Washington's Joe Ross (1-0, 0.00 ERA), who makes his third. Flaherty had an easy time of it last Tuesday at home vs the Nats, allowing a just ONE run on three hits over five innings (6-0 KW ratio). The Cardinals' offense exploded for 15 hits in a 14-3 rout. Ross took the mound the next day for Washington and spun six scoreless innings in a 6-0 Washington win.
The Cards have high hopes for Flaherty but I'm not convinced he's a front-of-the-rotation starter. Neither is Ross but after electing not to play in 2020, he has not given up a SINGLE run in 11 innings over two starts. He's made four career starts vs the Cards, going 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA (team is 3-1), including that 6-0 win last Wednesday. He faces a St Louis team that ranks 12th in the NL with a .221 team batting average and 11th with a .304 on-base percentage. The Cards had a pair of offensive outbursts in the past week, but have also scored two or less runs in their last FOUR losses over a stretch of six games.