By: Jason M. Sanin
Two of the top teams in the National League are set to square off this weekend, as the Washington Nationals will host the San Francisco Giants in a three game series that starts on Friday and wraps up on Sunday. This game could very well be a preview of the National League Championship Series down the road, and baseball betting experts would be wise to keep their eyes glued to it to see how these teams perform against Major League Baseball’s elite teams.
A Dynamic Hitting Matchup
Both of these teams are elite hitting teams, meaning that we could see a lot of runs scored in the three upcoming games between the two teams. Both teams are in the top ten in Major League Baseball in batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage, and both teams are in the top eleven in the league in runs scored.
Washington is led offensively by Bryce Harper, who is in the top five individually in the National League in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in. Perhaps more impressive is the fact that Harper has been performing so well despite battling some injuries in recent weeks. After missing some time earlier in the week, he returned to the lineup on Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves and should be healthy enough to play in this series.
San Francisco, meanwhile, relies on a more balanced attack on offense. The Giants have five regular players with batting averages at or around .300, which allows them to set themselves up in scoring positions at an incredibly frequent rate.
When it comes to the prowess of their pitching staffs, both the Giants and Nationals enjoy strong performances on a regular basis. Both teams allow an average of fewer than four runs per game, which sets the stage for their strong offenses to swoop in and score enough runs to win games on a regular basis.
The Nationals will throw starters Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, and Jordan Zimmerman in these three games. Gonzalez and Strasburg have struggled mightily this season, with both of them possessing earned run averages greater than four. Zimmerman, on the other hand, has been solid for the Nationals, striking out 69 hitters so far this year and giving up just over three runs per nine innings.
San Francisco will throw Jake Peavy, Madison Bumgarner, and Brian Vogelsong in these three games. Peavy, once a World Series hero in Anaheim and Boston, has given up eight runs in two short starts since joining the Giants. Bumgarner, last year’s World Series hero for the Giants, has been spectacular once again in 2015, and Vogelsong has been somewhere in between. Baseball tipsters will need to evaluate these pitching matchups carefully heading into this series.
Overall, the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants are very evenly matched both offensively and defensively, which will make for a very entertaining series. But while the series will be entertaining for sure, it is even more important to remember that they will be a great measuring stick for these two teams.