Nationals at Marlins – MLB Pick for June 19th
- Tanner Roark (6-4, 4.39 ERA) vs. Justin Nicolino (0-1, 4.15 ERA)
Following a nice weekend during which they took three of four from the New York Mets, the Washington Nationals will head down the east coast to begin a series in Miami with the Marlins. Right-hander Tanner Roark will toe the rubber for Washington opposite Marlins southpaw Justin Nicolino.
Following a nice start to the season, Roark has fallen on hard times of late. He was battered around in his last start against the Braves, as he surrendered seven runs on nine hits in just five innings of work. This came after conceding five runs on 11 hits to the Rangers and another four runs on five his to the Athletics. His ERA has gone from 3.86 up to 4.39 as a result of his trio of poor outings.
Nicolino has made a trio of spot starts for the Fish in 2017. He wasn’t stretched out in his most recent outing against the Phillies in late May, so he wound up hurling just three innings despite not yielding a hit or a run. Nicolino is a guy that’s likely to give up plenty of contact. He doesn’t miss many bats (his K-rate last season was 10.7%), and so far this year he’s had a problem with walks (walk rate over 10%).
On the bright side, Nicolino has been solid in stifling left-handed bats over the course of his brief big league career. He yielded a wOBA of .290 to lefties last season, which should help him neutralize the Nats’ two best hitters in Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy.
Washington certainly boasts plenty of thunder from the other side of the plate, but it’ll help that this game is being played in the hitter-friendly confines of Marlins Park. This is one of the tougher ballparks in which to hit home runs, and Nicolino has a history of being a solid ground ball pitcher. We have a limited sample with him, but his ground ball rate of over 56% would be one of the best marks in the league if he qualified
9 ½ just seems like a high over for a game featuring a pair of capable pitchers. Roark’s form has been wobbly lately, but he has a longer track record that shows he’s an above-average big league starter. The Marlins have a couple of big boppers in Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna to worry about, but if he can pitch around them he should be in a good spot as far as run prevention goes.
The roof will also be closed, which means this game won’t be played in Miami’s hot and humid temperatures. That certainly favors pitchers, as well.