NL East Picks: July 1, 2013

Ryan+Zimmerman+Washington+N

With the Atlanta Braves getting hot once again recently, all the other four teams in the NL East can do is simply look up at their division leader in awe. However, three of those four will have an opportunity to gain some ground today, as Atlanta has the day off. Here is a closer look at each of the three ballgames involving NL East teams and our winning runline picks. Feel free to use ’em!

Milwaukee Brewers +1.5 at Washington Nationals -1.5

Things certainly haven’t gone according to plan for the 2013 Washington Nationals – following an incredible 2012 – but with a record above .500 (41-40) – if just barely – heading into the second half of the season, it hasn’t been all bad for the Nats this year.

And they’ll have a great chance to get the second half started off right as they send out Jordan Zimmermann (11-3, 2.28 ERA) to start game one of a three-game home series against the slumping Milwaukee Brewers today.

The Brew Crew will attempt snap their current five-game skid by giving the ball to Yovani Gallardo (6-7, 4.20 ERA) today, but considering the Nats’ bats seem to be heating up, Milwaukee’s recent woes will likely continue.

Take the Nationals to cover -1.5 here.

Arizona Diamondbacks +1.5 at New York Mets -1.5

The Arizona Diamondbacks have looked rather sleepy at the plate recently, but a trip to New York might be the best kind of wake up call for them.

After getting swept in Atlanta over the weekend, the D-Backs hope to fare better against the New York Mets and they should in going up against starter Shaun Marcum, who is just 1-9 on the year with a 5.08 ERA.

However, Marcum is coming off his best start of the year and his only win, a game that saw him shut out the Chicago Cubs over eight strong innings, giving up just four hits and two walks.

Still, it’s hard to understand why the Mets are on the favorite line today. They may be at home, but their offense can struggle too and in fact, it has all year long, as the Mets rank 30th in batting average and 24th in runs scored this season.

Look for the Diamondbacks to cover +1.5 today.

San Diego Padres +1.5 at Miami Marlins -1.5

Like the Mets, the Miami Marlins aren’t used to being on the favorite line, but with Jose Fernandez (4-4, 2.98 ERA) getting the start, maybe the South Beach fish are deserving this time?

The Marlins are certainly on a roll – after finishing June with more wins than they had during the first two months of the year combined – but the San Diego Padres haven’t been a team to take lightly this season either, especially with Jason Marquis (9-3, 3.99 ERA) on the mound.

Though the Marlins may have the edge here, it’s a slight advantage at best. This one should be a low-scoring pitcher’s duel, but with a better lineup and a better overall defense, I like the Padres to at least cover +1.5 here.

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