St. Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals
When the St. Louis Cardinals host the Washington Nationals Sunday, motivation will go a long way toward determining the result. The Nationals are in the play-offs and their manager Davey Johnson has already said he’ll rest some of his starters during the final games of the season. The Cardinals currently hold on to the final National League Wild Card spot, but still have a lot of pressure to win as their lead is still surmountable.
St. Louis’ greater focus will also be bolstered by a rejuvenated Lance Lynn. The Cardinals’ Lynn was showing fatigue and some mechanical issues before being sent to the bullpen after the All-Star break. He was recently reinstalled in the pitching rotation to great success. In three starts since his return, he’s gone 3-0 and conceded just two earned runs on 13 hits in 19 1/3 innings.
Nationals pitcher Ross Detwiler is coming off a weak outing against the Philadelphia Phillies. He lasted just five innings, giving up five runs on five hits. With less on the line, Detwiler may not be too sharp in this one as well. The Cardinals are the pick (1.75), instead of the Nationals (2.08).
Atlanta Braves v New York Mets
The Kris Medlen victory train will keep on rolling when his Braves take on the visiting New York Mets. Medlen is in the midst of an historic run; Atlanta have captured victories in his last 22 consecutive starts. That ties the Major League record for the longest stretch, but he should break that deadlock in this contest. His ERA when he gets the start is an impressive 1.04 in 77 2/3 innings.
His opposition, Jenrry Mejia, is just 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in 2012. He’s made some passable appearances this year, but doesn’t have the type of firepower to match-up against Medlen. Atlanta (on at 1.30) should get the win against the Mets, who can be had at 3.55.