Nationals vs Astros – MLB Pick for August 24th

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Washington Nationals (+130)
Houston Astros (-150)
Total: 8

For the first time ever, the Houston Astros beat the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night. Houston had lost each of its first nine meetings against Washington before finally getting into the win column. They’ll look to make it two in-a-row on Thursday when Dallas Keuchel takes the mound opposite Stephen Strasburg.

Keuchel was terrible in his first few starts after coming off the disabled list, but he seems to have found his form in his last two outings. After limiting the Rangers to just a run in 6.2 innings back on August 13, Keuchel came out in his last start and shut out the A’s on three hits in seven frames.

When Keuchel is right, he’s inducing ground balls and soft contact like a madman. In his last start, he was doing just that. He coaxed the Oakland hitters into 18 ground ball outs along with three strikeouts. Yes, that means there was not a single fly ball out in the game against him.

Keuchel has missed plenty of the season thanks to injury, but so far he has a ground ball rate of 66.2%, which is beyond insane. That will probably regress a bit the deeper into the season he goes, but it still paints a picture of who he is. He’s far from your conventional ace, but he’s able to get himself out of jams thanks to that GB%.

He’ll be going up against a Nationals lineup that is seriously watered-down these days. There’s no Bryce Harper, Trea Turner or Jayson Werth. Dusty Baker has been spotting Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy some time of late, as well. Washington is capable of rolling out an awful lineup in this one.

Strasburg, meanwhile, is making his second start since coming off the DL. In his first outing, he allowed two runs on four hits in six innings with eight strikeouts against the Padres. He took the loss, however, as the Nats’ bats weren’t able to get him any help. Run support could certainly be an issue again tonight with Keuchel on the other side.

Strasburg threw 91 pitches in his last outing, which means he’ll probably be capped around 100 again in this one. He doesn’t get the accolades of his Cy Young-winning teammate, Max Scherzer, but Strasburg has quietly put together a very solid season of his own. He boasts a strikeout rate over 28% and a soft contact rate over 20%.

Runs should be hard to come by in this one. The Astros’ offense is also shorthanded without bats like Carlos Correa and Evan Gattis. Houston hasn’t exactly been piling up the runs of late, but we like their chances of getting to Strasburg more than we like Washington’s shot at crushing Keuchel on his home mound.

Lineups may affect the line, but as of now the Astros are listed at -148. We like the profit potential there, and we think the line may even be a little bit too low. This game also has an over/under of eight runs, which looks way too steep. These are two aces doing battle in a park that quietly serves as a positive setting for pitching.

So, we’re taking Houston (-150) and we’re taking the under (-110) on this game.
Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...

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