The Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals square off on Wednesday with first pitch set for 1:05 p.m. EST. The game takes place at Nationals Park in Washington DC and will only be available on local TV or through an MLB.tv subscription. The Nats will have Paolo Espino on the hill while Pittsburgh will have Mitch Keller toeing the rubber.
The Nationals come into this game on a three-game win streak, defeating the Pirates in the first two games of this series. Despite being in dead last place in the NL East, they’ve performed steadily over the last couple of weeks winning six of their last 10 games. Espino has made just three starts this season but has 23 total appearances, with most of them coming out of the bullpen. So don’t expect him to go deep in this afternoon’s tilt, the furthest he’s ever got into a game this season was 5.1 frames. As a starter, he’s tossed 14 innings and allowed four earned runs, including two home runs. He pitched one inning out of the bullpen against the Pirates this season and allowed just one hit and no runs, striking out a batter in the process.
Pittsburgh currently sits in third place in the NL Central, which is a division struggling mightily outside of the top two teams. The Pirates aren’t having any luck recently either, coming into this game on a five-game losing streak, with the team winning just 11 of their last 30 games overall. Keller has been steady for them this season but struggled in his lone appearance against Washington. When he faced the Nats back in April, he allowed seven hits and four earned runs in under four innings pitched.
Pirates vs. Nationals
Pitchers: Paolo Espino vs. Mitch Keller
First pitch: 1:05 p.m. EST
Pirates local broadcast: AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh
Nationals local broadcast: MASN
Live stream: MLB.tv (subscription)
Odds, picks & predictions
Run Line: Nationals -1.5
Run total: 9
Moneyline odds: Nationals -140, Pirates +120
Moneyline pick: Nationals -140
The fact that Espino probably won’t go deep in the game shouldn’t play much of a factor. The Pirates are struggling mightily at the moment and can’t seem to buy a win no matter who they’re playing. The season series between the two teams is tied 3-3, but Pittsburgh hasn’t tallied a win against the Nats since April.
Player prop pick: Cesar Hernandez over 1.5 hits (+175)
Hernandez has at least one hit in six of his last eight contests and he has a good history against Keller. In eight career at-bats, the second basemen is hitting .500 against him with four singles and a walk.
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