Nationals vs Rangers MLB Expert Pick, Score Prediction & Betting Breakdown for Today's Game

Nationals vs Rangers MLB Expert Pick, Score Prediction & Betting Breakdown for Today’s Game

One of the best rookies in the National League in the early going of the 2024 season has been Washington Nationals right-hander Mitchell Parker. He returns to the mound on Thursday with a tough challenge at defending World Series champion Texas, which is a heavy favorite on the MLB odds in the series finale.

In the beginning of the Series Texas beat Washington 7 to 1, for the second game things changed and the Nationals won by the minimum, and for today, a great and decisive game is coming between both Rosters.

MLB Lines Rangers -190, Nationals +170 (total 8.5)
What´s the Score? Rangers 4, Nationals 3
 

Washington Nationals MoneyLine +147

The Nats are a little thin in the outfield with Victor Robles and Joey Gallo on the injured list. Robles missed most of April with a left hamstring strain but has progressed enough to get in some game action in the minors and could be activated soon. However, Jacob Young has played well for the Nationals in center field and might hold down an everyday role even after Robles is activated. Gallo is out with a shoulder injury. He was slashing .122/.286/.311 across 91 plate appearances so far this season but is one of those guys who can go a homer-binge for like a week.

It’s good-looking rookie righty Mitchell Parker (2-0) on the hill. In his first two starts, Parker joined Shota Imanaga, Tanner Bibee, Johnny Cueto and Andy Sonnanstine as the fifth starter in AL/NL history (since 1901) to strike out at least 12 hitters and not issue a walk in the first two games of his career.

However, Parker took a no-decision in last Saturday’s win over the Marlins, permitting one run on six hits and two walks over four innings. The Marlins made Parker work, particularly in the first inning when he gave up two singles, walked two and allowed a run on a wild pitch. He needed 82 pitches to cover his four innings, ultimately costing him what would have been an easy win.

Parker is Washington’s No. 21 prospect for 2024, per MLB Pipeline, and he’s also off to a terrific start since being promoted to the big leagues with a 1.69 ERA (1.78 FIP), 0.93 WHIP, and 14:2 K:BB over 16 frames (three starts) despite poor minor league numbers. He ranks among MLB rookies (min. 15.0 IP) in opp. SLG (2nd, .241), strikeout-to-walk ratio (T3rd, 7.00), ERA (5th, 1.69), opp. OBP (5th, .242) and WHIP (7th, 0.94)

While Parker’s 2.79 xERA is impressive, his mediocre .238 xBA implies some regression could be coming. The Nats’ fifth-round pick in the 2020 MLB Draft was called up to take Josiah Gray’s spot in the rotation on April 13. Gray had sustained a right elbow/forearm flexor strain, shutting him down for a few weeks. Parker has never faced Texas.

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Texas Rangers MoneyLine -208

Third baseman Josh Jung, an All-Star last year as a rookie, remains out for Texas. Jung had surgery on his fractured right wrist in early April, and the rough timetable provided at the time was 8-to-10 weeks. Jung was slashing.412/.474/.941 line along with two homers before the injury. His presence in the Rangers lineup has been missed, as the offense has been mediocre since his departure. As Manager Bruce Bochy said this week, “He’s still a ways away. Four, five, six weeks maybe. He’s coming along.” In the meantime, the Rangers continue to platoon Josh Smith and Ezequiel Duran at third base.

Ace Max Scherzer (back) had his next minor league rehab start pushed back to later this week due to thumb soreness. Rangers general manager Chris Young told reporters Tuesday that Scherzer is dealing with some lingering thumb soreness in the wake of last Wednesday’s rehab outing for Triple-A Round Rock. The positive news here is the 39-year-old veteran isn’t experiencing any issues with his back following offseason surgery. Barring any additional setbacks, he could be back in the majors soon.

It’s veteran righty Nathan Eovaldi on the mound Thursday. Eovaldi (1-2) didn’t factor into the decision during last Friday’s victory over Cincinnati, giving up one earned run on three hits and five walks while striking out eight batters across six innings. Coming off back-to-back losses, the 34-year-old found himself working from behind early after Elly De La Cruz walked and later stole home to score the first run of the game in the first inning. Eovaldi was able to regroup and stifle the Reds’ bats for the next five frames, though his struggles with limiting walks continued. He now owns a 3.00 ERA and 1.12 WHIP alongside a 36:17 K:BB through 36 innings in six games.

Bochy said he feels like Eovaldi is just missing by small margins on the edges of the zone, but his stuff is in the right place. Eovaldi agreed before noting that Friday in particular he felt like he was moving a little quickly down the mound as he tried to control the running game with an aggressive Reds team.

The Rangers are 3-3 in Eovaldi’s six starts this year but he has recorded just one victory as his offense has provided 1-or-2 runs of support in each outing. Eovaldi’s 2.50 run support average (RS/9) is the 6th-lowest among A.L. qualifiers. He is 3-5 with a 4.79 ERA in 11 career starts vs. Washington.

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Nationals vs Rangers Info

When: Tuesday, 2:35 PM ET
Where: Globe Life Field
Pitchers (away/home): Mitchell Parker/Nathan Eovaldi
TV: MLB Extra Innings


 

Injuries to Consider

Texas Rangers

DatePlayerPositionStatus
May 1Matt Duffy3BDay-To-Day
May 1Keyber RodriguezSSDay-To-Day
Apr 30Max ScherzerSP15-Day-IL
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