Nationals with Plenty to Prove Versus Phillies

This is supposed to be the year the Washington Nationals finally break through. The Nationals are the 15/2 favorites at press time to win the 2015 World Series, but they’re already 4.31 betting units in the red on a record of 3-6. They’ll try to get on the winning track Friday night (7:05 PM ET) when they host the Philadelphia Phillies, who also started the season at 3-6 (minus-2.31 units). Max Scherzer is one of the big reasons why Washington is favored this year, and he’ll be starting for the Nationals on Friday. Scherzer won the 2013 American League Cy Young Award with the Detroit Tigers, then finished fifth in last year’s voting before signing a seven-year, $210-million contract with Washington. He allowed just one run combined in his first two starts for the Nationals, but they went 1-1 for a loss of 0.67 units. The Phillies (300/1 on the World Series futures market) are expected to respond with journeyman Sean O’Sullivan, a northpaw who’s with his fifth MLB organization in six years. O’Sullivan has never played a full season in the majors; he has a career record of 10-17 with an unsightly 5.56 FIP over 237.1 innings.