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Mlb National League Fixtures Preview And Picks For Monday May 5th 2014


Here’s our preview of tonight’s MLB action in the National League…


Nationals Stadium – 00:05 BST
Expected pitchers – Greinke (5-0, 2.04) vs. Zimmerman (2-1, 3.27)

The Los Angeles Dodgers find themselves in the thick of the National League West race as we enter May, but they may also find themselves without All Star center fielder Yasiel Puig for some time, after the outfielder injured himself running down a ball late in Sunday night’s loss to the Marlins. In Puig’s stead, the team will rely even more on the big bat of Adrian Gonzalez (.292, 9HR 25RBI), as well as that of Matt Kemp, who has been steadily improving of late. Undefeated Zack Greinke takes the mound, where he will look to take a 6th win in seven starts.

The Washington Nationals have made the most of life without Bryce Harper, who is out for the foreseeable future with a serious thumb injury. The team has gone 3-2 since placing their stud outfielder on the DL, thanks in no small part to some stellar pitching from their staff. Righty Jordan Zimmerman goes on Monday night, and he will be looking for wins in consecutive starts for the first time this season. Of note is veteran first baseman Adam LaRoche, who leads everyday starting hitters on the Nats with a .317 average, and 5 home runs.

PICK: Los Angeles

PNC Park – 00:05 BST
Expected pitchers – n/a

The NL West-leading San Francisco Giants will look for a sixth consecutive win on Monday night, as they start a three game set on the road with the struggling Pittsburgh Pirates. The Giants are coming off a fifth consecutive game in which they allowed 2 or fewer runs, as they closed out a 3-game series sweep of the Braves in Atlanta. Leading the charge for them as been the bat of Michael Morse (.302, 8HR 22RBI), who is putting up his best numbers since 2011 with the Nationals. Monday’s start was scheduled for Matt Cain, but the hurler has been placed on the 15-day disabled list; expect a substitute to be announced shortly before game time, perhaps long-reliever Yusmiero Petit

Nothing has gone right to this point in 2014 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, as their 12-19 record has them 8.5 games behind division-leading Milwaukee already, and fading fast. The Bucs are coming off their first series win in a while though, as they took 2 of three from Toronto over the weekend. Still, they need someone other than Andrew McCutchen (.302, 4HR 17RBI) to step up offensively; big-slugging Pedro Alvarez has 7 home runs and 18 RBI’s, but is hitting a poor .211, while second baseman Neil Walker is the only every-day player hitting above .260 (other than McCutchen). Pittsburgh needs to start a winning run, and fast.

PICK: Pittsburgh

Veterans Stadium – 00:05 BST
Expected pitchers – Happ (0-0, 4.15) vs. K. Kendrick (0-2, 3.52)

The Toronto Blue Jays are a team hovering just below .500 right now, and that may just be the reality they face going forward this season. Sweet-swinging Melky Cabrera (.336, 6HR 14RBI) and sugger Jose Bautista (.294, 9HR 20RBI) are putting up the kind of sesasons that the team hoped for, and have led the team to respectable numbers offensively. It has just been the pitching, with no discernible ace, and a staff that is consistently erratic, that has let Toronto down. Long-relieving lefty J.A. Happ gets his first start of the season on Monday, in place of the injured Brandon Morrow, who struggled mightily in his 6 starts; indeed, of the Jays regular rotation, only Drew Hutchison (1-2, 3.82ERA) features an ERA below 4, and a WHIP below 1.4.

Not much was expected of the veteran Phillies lineup this year, so a 15-14 start has to be considered a boon for the club. They are coming off a 2-1 series defeat of division rival Washington, and are only a game-and-a-half out of first in the NL East. They have been led by some strong arms out of the starting rotation, including Monday starter Kyle Kendrick, who doesn’t have a win yet on the season, but has respectable ERA and WHIP numbers. The one thing holding Philadelphia back right now may be their bullpen, which has allowed the most runs in the National League at this early juncture in the season, and needs to be far better.

PICK: Philadelphia

Marlins Park – 00:15 BST
Expected pitchers – Niese (2-2, 2.20) vs. Eovaldi (2-1, 2.58)

The surprising New York Mets ended a mini 3-game losing slump on Sunday, as they took a 5-1 decision in Colorado. At 16-14, they are doing far better than most pundits anticipated at the start of the season, and have a real chance to make a statement in their three game set with division-rival Miami. The Mets top-rotation starters have been surprisingly strong, led by emerging ace Dillon Gee (3-1, 2.51) and Monday starter Jon Niese (2-2, 2.20), while Daniel Murphy looks to continue the form he showed in an excellent four-game set with the Rockies, which included 7 hits from 19 at-bats. He leads the team in everyday average, at .314

At 16-15, the young Marlins find themselves on the sunny side of .500 for the first time in a while. This is thanks, of course, to stellar starts from staff ace Jose Fernandez (4-1, 1.74), who looks well on his way as a favorite for the Cy Young this year, but also from the 2-4 guys, including Monday starter Nathan Eovaldi. Indeed, in a combined 25 starts to this point in the season, the Marlins 1-4 starters have allowed just 43 runs, an excellent run of form which showcases the strength of this roster as the rotation. Now all they need is the bullpen, which has struggled, to reciprocate.

PICK: Miami

Turner Field – 00:15 BST
Expected pitchers – S. Miller (3-2, 3.15) vs. Harang (3-2, 2.97)

Things haven’t exactly gone swimmingly for the defending NL-champion St. Louis Cardinals, who find themselves at .500, already 5 games behind Milwaukee for the division lead, as we enter May. What’s worse, the Cards are coming off a pair of series losses to division rivals Chicago and Milwaukee, and have been struggling to find consistent offense from the majority of their everyday hitters. Indeed, other than Matt Adams (.339) and Yadier Molina (.336), no Cardinal regular is hitting above .270 right now, and that needs to change. Monday starter Shelby Miller is proving to be a reliable start, at just 23 years of age.

The Atlanta Braves lead the log-jam that is the NL East right now, though they have just 1.5 games on the collective of four other teams behind them. This would be a lot different, were it not for a brutal 6 game losing streak in which they currently find themselves mired. Sweeps at the hands of the Marlins and Giants have negated what was a strong start in Atlanta, and they will look to recover over a course of two consecutive home stands. The Braves are one of few teams witout a single everyday hitter above .300 on average; outfielder Justin Upton leads the charge at .299, while also potting 8 home runs and 18 RBI in what has thusfar been a strong season for the veteran.

PICK: Atlanta

Miller Park – -01:15 BST
Expected pitchers – Bolsinger (1-1, 5.79) vs. M. Garza (1-3, 5.00)

The Arizona Diamondbacks have the worst winning percentage in the bigs right now, and are at serious risk of having their season lost before the 40-game mark. They are actually 6-5 in their last 11, a run which has somewhat mitigated their abysmal 5-18 start, but there is still so much to be done to regain respectability in the desert. Behind the likes of Paul Goldschmidt, Miguel Montero and Chris Owings, their bats have actually been respectable enough; it has been the pitching, including some league-leading runs allowed numbers, which has let them down so much to start the year. And, with even ace Wade Miley struggling, there doesn’t appear to be relief on the horizon.

Whereas Arizona has surprisingly submarined this season, the Milwaukee Brewers have got the be the feel-good story of the early year. Their 21-11 mark is tops in the bigs, and they currently find themselves 5 games clear of St. Louis in the NL Central. The return from suspension of dynamic outfielder Ryan Braun (.318, 6HR 18RBI) has re-energized the Brew Crew, especially outfielder Carlos Gomez (.280, 7HR 17RBI), who missed Braun’s protective bat in the middle of the order last year. Their starting pitching has also been extremely solid; only Monday starter Matt Garza has an ERA over 3.20 in 6+ starts, and his is largely due to a rough last-pair of starts against St. Louis and Pittsburgh.

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Richard Roche
Richard is our sportsbook specialist. Spotting the best odds on the market or a curveball spread opportunity is his job - and he dedicates himself to it.

Richard is our sportsbook specialist. Spotting the best odds on the market or a curveball spread opportunity is his job - and he dedicates himself to it.

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