The Atlanta Braves have been a pleasant surprise this season and maybe they could get into the wild- card race, but they aren’t catching NL East leader Washington in the division. Those two close the first half of the season against one another with four in D.C. The Nationals head into the MLB series as favorites against the Braves.
MLB Series Betting Prediction: Atlanta at WashingtonMLB.tvRadio: 93.7 FM (Atlanta) / 106.7 The Fan (Washington)MLB Series Odds: TBA
Earlier MLB Series MeetingsThe Braves hosted Washington from April 18-20 and were swept three games. The Nationals have won 10 of the last 13 games in Atlanta. The teams played three games in Washington from June 12-14 and Atlanta won two of three.On June 12, it was a wild 11-10 Braves win. Catcher Tyler Flowers hit a go-ahead three-run home run off Matt Albers in the ninth inning and Atlanta came from three runs down. The Washington bullpen has been a major problem all season.On June 13, the Nats won 10-5. Ryan Zimmerman homered twice and Washington scored five runs in the sixth inning off R.A. Dickey. In the finale, it was 13-2 Braves.
Was Brandon Phillips an Important Factor for Winning the Last MLB Series?Brandon Phillips had four hits and three RBI for the Braves, who had dropped seven consecutive road series against the Nationals and had lost 23 of their last 25 games in Washington before this series.It was Atlanta’s first series victory at Washington since taking two during a three-game set April 4-6, 2014.
Freeman Back For BravesAtlanta activated its best offensive player, first baseman Freddie Freeman, from the DL on Tuesday – at least a week earlier than original expectations. And Freeman will now play third base because Matt Adams, acquired while Freeman was sidelined, has been hitting so well at first.Freeman was back in the lineup one day shy of the seven-week mark since he fractured his left wrist May 17 when hit by a pitch. It was initially estimated that his recovery would take 10 weeks.A former high school third baseman, Freeman last played the hot corner for five games in rookie ball in 2007. He garnered just one ground ball during the two Minor League rehab games he ended up playing at third for Triple-A Gwinnett.
Pitching MatchupsDon’t expect a shutout by Braves pitching in this series. The Nationals are the only team in the National League yet to post a goose egg, joined by the New York Yankees in the American League. The Nationals’ current 83-game streak of scoring at least one run is the longest such streak to start a season in franchise history.The last team in Major League history not to get shutout for an entire season was the 2000 Cincinnati Reds, who went 163 games (including one tie) without being shutout.
Who Will Start on the Mound for Both Teams?The opener should feature Atlanta’s Mike Foltynewicz vs. Washington’s Gio Gonzalez. Edge Washington there. Gonzalez (7-3) is sporting a high-end 2.77 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 8.7 K/9 for the year, and even with consecutive unfortunate losses, the lefty already has seven wins.Gonzalez’s 4.17 FIP could prove to be an indicator that he’s overachieving, but the veteran has also allowed three runs or fewer in 15 of 17 starts this year.Game 2 looks to be Dickey vs. Max Scherzer, a huge mismatch for Washington. Scherzer is probably the leading NL Cy Young candidate after winning it last year.With 10 wins, 163 strikeouts, an eye-popping 1.94 ERA and WHIP of 0.77, Scherzer has been the best pitcher in the National League — and arguably all of baseball — this season. He has allowed just two hits in three straight starts. Scherzer was named NL Pitcher of the Month for June.
What About the Weekend Games?Saturday should see Julio Teheran vs. Stephen Strasburg. Another edge to Washington. Strasburg (9-2, 3.28) threw seven scoreless innings in a no-decision Monday against the Mets, allowing two hits and three walks with six strikeouts.Monday marked just the second time in his career that he went at least seven scoreless innings and allowed two hits or fewer. Strasburg has now thrown back-to- back quality starts. He’s 2-0 this year against Atlanta despite a 4.58 ERA.The only pitching matchup where I favor Atlanta would be Sunday with good-looking young lefty Sean Newcomb set to start against so-so Joe Ross.
Latest MLB Series Trends
- Braves are 11-5 SU in the last 16 games
- Nationals are 5-10 ATS in the last 15 games at home
- The total went UNDER in 4 of Atlanta’s last 5 games
- Nationals are 4-1 SU in the last 5 games at home
- Braves are 4-10 ATS in the last 14 games at home
- The total went UNDER in 5 of Washington’s last 7 games at home
Recent MLB Series History
- Won – July 3rd to July 4th vs New York Mets. Series Final: 2-0
- Loss – June 3oth to July 2nd @ St. Louis Cardinals. Series Final: 1-2
- Tie – June 26th to June 29th vs Chicago Cubs. Series Final: 2-2
- Won – June 23rd to June 25th vs Cincinnati Reds. Series Final: 2-1
- Loss – June 19th to June 21st @ Miami Marlins. Series Final: 1-2
- Won – June 3oth to July 2nd @ Oakland Athletics. Series Final: 3-0
- Loss – June 27th to June 29th @ San Diego Padres. Series Final: 1-2
- Won – June 23rd to June 25th vs Milwaukee Brewers. Series Final: 2-1
- Loss – June 19th to June 22nd vs San Francisco Giants Series Final: 3-1
- Won – June 16th to June 18th vs Miami Marlins. Series Final: 2-1