July 7 MLB Preview — Kansas City Royals at Washington Nationals

(Patrick Corbin photo courtesy Scott Taetsch/USA TODAY Sports)

This is the full preview(s) as seen on the Winners and Whiners and Stat Salt websites. The confidence rating for all picks on a scale from 1 to 5 is in parentheses.

Note: The 5/5 does NOT represent the best overall pick of the day’s games when there are multiple games, simply the best pick(s) from each individual game.

When and Where: Sunday, July 7, Nationals Park, Washington D.C., 1:35 p.m. EDT.

Aside from one start, Patrick Corbin has settled in quite nicely in the nation’s capital following his big-money move from Arizona.

The left-hander looks to run his personal home winning streak to five games Sunday when the Washington Nationals conclude their series versus the Kansas City Royals.

Junis hopes change of opponent leads to change of outcome

After back-to-back losing starts to Cleveland, Jakob Junis (4-8, 5.53 ERA) looks to end a personal three-game losing streak and win for the first time in seven starts.

Junis had his worst outing of the season Tuesday versus the Indians, who roughed him up for seven runs in 4 2-3 innings of a 9-5 defeat. The right-hander has a 4.91 ERA during his six-start winless stretch and has been tagged for 10 homers in 33 innings in that span.

“It was just a grind,” Junis told the team’s official website, referring to a 38-pitch third in which he allowed five of his seven runs. “I threw a lot more pitches than I’d hope for. A lot of foul balls. A lot of long at-bats. It’s just gonna happen sometimes, I guess. I just have to battle through it and keep making pitches as best you can.”

The righty also has not had much success in interleague games, going 0-2 with a 4.62 ERA in his last five outings dating back to the start of last season. Junis, who has never faced the Nationals, took a home loss to Philadelphia on June 12 in which he was reached for five runs in 4 1-3 innings while walking five.

Junis has also struggled to keep the ball down on the road, serving up 10 homers in 33 innings in his six road starts. He is 2-3 with a 4.91 ERA in those games and given up four or more runs in three of them.

Corbin out to continue solid run in DC

By and large, Corbin (7-5, 3.35) has pitched to the expectations that came with his six-year, $140 million deal in the offseason to slot behind Max Scherzer in the rotation.

The left-hander was denied a fourth straight winning start at Nationals Park on Tuesday but did pitch well enough to claim that victory after limiting Miami to one run and six hits in seven innings. The bullpen squandered a 2-1 lead before the Nats eventually won 3-2 in walkoff fashion.

It was an emotional night for Corbin, who grieved the loss of his close friend and Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs following his sudden passing earlier that afternoon. The two were drafted one round apart by the Angels in 2009, and after a shaky first inning, the lefty delivered a solid performance.

“For me, the first inning was going to be the toughest,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said to the club’s official website. “Knowing him, I could see it a little bit in his face. Once he got through that inning, I thought he was going to be OK. I was more concerned about his mental state. This is his best friend. But he was tremendous.”

Corbin is 3-0 with a 0.87 ERA in his last four starts at Nationals Park, striking out 31 in as many innings while holding opponents to a .175 batting average. He is 4-1 with a 2.06 ERA in eight starts in the nation’s capital this year, giving up more than two runs just once.

His lone appearance against the Royals came in relief for the Diamondbacks in 2017, a scoreless stint of 2 2-3 innings.

Notable Trends:

The Nationals are:

  • 4-0 in Corbin’s last four home starts.
  • 5-1 in their last six Sunday games.
  • 4-1 in their last five during game 3 of a series.

The Royals are:

  • 5-11 in Junis’ last 16 road starts.
  • 3-8 in Junis’ last 11 starts.
  • 6-13 in their last 19 interleague games vs. left-handed starters.

5-Star Pick!!!!!

Nationals -1.5 runs (-131)

A confidence pick in Corbin continuing his stellar form at Nationals Park, where he has been near-untouchable of late. Additionally, being able to work through his grieving process in his last start means the left-hander should be sharp and primed to face the Royals.

4-Star Picks!!!!

Royals UNDER 3.5 runs (-131)

It is all-in with Corbin, which is logical considering his current run at home. The Royals have been blanked twice in their last four games and held to three or fewer runs in four of their seven interleague contests.

Nationals -0.5 runs first 5 innings (-131) 

There was some thought to exploring an alternate line of -1.5 runs, but despite being 5-1-2 at the five-inning mark in their last eight games, the Nationals have led by only one run in four of them. Thus, the conservative play is the better one and is helped with the Royals 2-4 in their last six after five innings.

3-Star Picks!!!

UNDER 9 runs (Even)

A second confidence pick in Corbin, but also one in which Junis potentially gets a little bump from facing a different opponent. He had recorded four quality starts in his previous six before the two outings against Cleveland, and the under is also 6-1 in his last seven starts against NL teams.

Corbin has delivered the under in his last four home starts, and the under has trended strongly with the Nationals of late, entering Saturday’s contest 12-3 in their last 15 games versus AL right-handers and 27-12 in their last 39 matchups with AL teams overall.

UNDER 5 runs first 5 innings (-115)

Both teams are currently streaking with the under — the Royals have delivered in their last four, the Nationals in their previous eight — and while the five-inning under is 3-3-2 in Corbin’s eight home starts, it has come through in the last two in the nation’s capital.

Royals UNDER 1.5 runs first 5 innings (-105)

Corbin and the Royals under is worth a flyer here because the Nationals left-hander has had, for all intents and purposes, one bad inning in his eight starts at home this year — and that came April 29 when the Cardinals put up a six-spot in the fifth. He has not allowed more than one run in the first five innings in any of his other seven starts in Washington D.C., and his current form makes this a solid risk-reward pick.

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