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St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals
Wrapping up their regular-season series, Washington hosts St. Louis for the first of three games tonight. The first pitch for the Nationals vs. Cardinals contest is slated for 7:05 p.m. ET at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. This is the fourth of six meetings this season. Washington won the first series 2–1 in St. Louis last week. The Nationals had a 12–6 hit advantage and posted a 5–2 win in the first game. The Cardinals racked up 15 hits, including three home runs, and rebounded with a 14–3 win in the second contest. Washington held St. Louis to four hits and closed the series with a 6–0 shutout win.
Washington (5–8) had a delayed start after their season-opening series against the New York Mets was postponed due to COVID-19 issues. The Nationals won 6–5 during their home opener against Atlanta on April 6. The Braves rebounded with a doubleheader sweep (7–6 and 2–0) during two seven-inning games. Making their first road trip, Washington was outscored 13–6, including 1–0 and 3–0 shutouts, during a three-game sweep by the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Following the trip to St. Louis, Washington returned home and split a four-game series 2–2 with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
St. Louis (7–8) opened their season with a high-scoring series in Cincinnati. The Cardinals won the first game 11–6, and the Reds won the next two 9–6 and 12–1. Rebounding in Miami, the Cardinals outscored the Marlins 15–3 during a three-game sweep. St. Louis opened their home schedule with a 3–1 win against Milwaukee before losing the next two (9–5 and 9–3) to the Brewers. Following the series at home against Washington, the Cardinals visited Philadelphia for a three-game set. The Phillies won twice (9–2 and 2–0), and the Cardinals avoided a sweep with a 9–4 win.
RHP Jack Flaherty (2–0, 4.11 ERA) makes his fourth start for St. Louis. On three hits over five innings, he allowed one run during the Cardinals’ 14–3 win over the Nationals on April 13. RHP Joe Ross (1–0, 0.00 ERA) is making his third start for Washington. He allowed four hits, over six scoreless innings, during the Nationals 6–0 win against the Cardinals on April 14. St. Louis ranks 23rd overall with a .221 team batting average. Washington is second with a .267 batting average. DraftKings has the Nationals as slight home underdogs in the series opener. Bet the moneyline and back Washington.
Pick: Washington Nationals (+104) moneyline
Tampa Bay Rays at Kansas City Royals
Meeting for the first time since the 2019 MLB season, Tampa Bay visits Kansas City to open a three-game series. Game time for the Rays vs. Royals matchup is at 8:10 p.m. ET at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. These teams didn’t meet during the COVID-19 shortened season last year, and this is the first of six meetings this season. Tampa Bay won the 2019 season series 4–3 and swept Kansas City 7–0 in 2018. The Royals have won six of their last eight games, and they are 7–3 at home. The Rays have a 5–4 record on the road this season, and they are 4–4 over their last eight contests.
Tampa Bay (8–8) is second overall in the AL East Division and enter this contest following a 3–0 weekend series sweep of the Yankees in New York. The Rays rolled to convincing wins (8–2 and 6–3) during the first two games. Tampa Bay went up 3–2 in the seventh inning and posted a 4–2 win in the series finale yesterday. The Rays opened the season with a 2–1 series win in Miami and were swept 3–0 by the Red Sox in Boston. That was followed by a 2–1 series win at home against the Yankees and a 3–1 series loss to Texas. Tampa Bay averages 4.25 runs per game and allows 5.06 runs.
Kansas City (9–5) is a surprise early-season leader in AL Central Division. The Royals have a 1.5-game lead on the Cleveland Indians. Kansas City is playing an eighth straight home game. The Royals enter this contest following a 3–1 weekend series win against the Toronto Blue Jays. Prior to that, Kansas City hosted the Los Angeles Angels, and the Royals won that series 2–1. Despite the hot start, Kansas City is behind Minnesota (-110), Chicago (+120), and Cleveland (+1000), with +2000 odds to win the AL Central at FanDuel. The Royals score 4.43 runs per game and allow 4.21 runs.
Ranked as the fourth starter on the Royals depth chart, LHP Danny Duffy (2–0, 0.75 ERA) is making his third start for Kansas City. On 10 hits over 12 innings, he allowed one run during a 3–0 win on the road against Cleveland and a 3–2 win at home versus Los Angeles. Fifth-ranked starter LHP Josh Fleming (0–1, 1.80 ERA) makes his second start for Tampa Bay. On four hits over five innings, he allowed one run during the Rays 5–1 loss to Texas in his first start. Duffy is a veteran starter who gives Kansas City an edge in the pitching matchup. Bet the moneyline and back the Royals at home.
Pick: Kansas City Royals (-116) moneyline
2021 MLB Regular Season Betting Record: 8–12 (-5.69 Units)
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