Shelby Miller (5-12, 2.56 ERA) is on the hill for the Atlanta Braves (54-81) as they square off against Gio Gonzalez (9-7, 4.13 ERA) and the Washington Nationals (69-65) in the third of a four-game series at Nationals Park. The Braves lost the last game 5-2, continuing a 10-game losing streak. Action begins at 7:05 p.m. ET on Saturday, Sep. 5 and can be seen on FSSO, MASN and MLBN.
Gonzalez pitched 6.0 innings in his last outing, surrendering three runs, striking out four and walking two in an 8-5 defeat to the Cardinals. Bryce Harper (.333, 98 Rs, 32 HRs, 80 RBIs, 6 SBs) continued his strong play yesterday, going 2 for 3 with two runs, one home run, and one RBI. Miller went 7.0 innings, surrendering one run and striking out four in a 4-0 defeat to the Marlins in his most recent start. Freddie Freeman (.285, 52 Rs, 15 HRs, 50 RBIs, 3 SBs) has been successful at the plate for the Braves, going 3 for 4 yesterday with one run.
This one isn't expected to be close when Washington, a substantial -200 favorite, takes on Atlanta. The Over/Under (O/U) is sitting at seven runs for this matchup. The Nationals have an overall money line of -1,318 and a record as the favorite of 55-41. Washington has had an impressive season against division opponents, earning 28-16 and 30-21 records as the favorite and SU respectively. The Nationals have no trouble scoring as they rank third in the NL in offense with 4.3 runs per game. Washington is one of the best in the NL in terms of walks, earning an average of 3.3 per game. Washington's pitchers put it all together when division rivals are on the field. Its average runs allowed per game drops to 3.3 against fellow NL East members, compared to its 4.0 season average. The Nationals are the top team in the NL at limiting walks to their opponents, allowing only 2.2 walks per game so far this season.
As for their opponent, Atlanta is coming in with an overall money line of -1,694 and a disappointing record of 40-66 as the underdog. They have been on a bit of a dry streak over their last 10 games. They managed a 0-5 record when playing as the underdog. Offensively, the Braves have really sputtered in the last 10 games. They have decreased their season average of 3.6 runs per game by averaging 2.5 during that stretch. The Braves have a dynamic offense, leading the league with 315 extra base hits. Atlanta is excellent at not striking out with an NL-low 6.9 per game. The Braves allow 4.8 runs per game, but have damaged those numbers in the past 10 games, allowing 8.5 runs per game during that span.
The Nationals have controlled the season series, 11-3. The Nationals have a 51-50 record against right-handed starting pitchers on the year, which is what they'll be facing when Miller takes the mound. Gonzalez (LHP) will be on the hill against the Braves, who have inferior records against left-handed starting pitchers on the road and overall of 4-8 and 9-16, respectively.
Predictions: SU Winner - Was, O/U - Over
The Nationals hold a 31-21 record this season against teams in the NL East Division. The Braves' record in these matchups is 25-30.
The Nationals are coming off of a weak pitching game where they recorded three strikeouts. The Braves have a record of 4-7 when opponents' pitchers have that many strikeouts or fewer.
The Nationals are coming into the game with three consecutive wins, while the Braves currently have a losing streak of 10.
When they outhit their opponents, the Braves are 37-18. The Nationals have a 54-8 record when outhitting opponents.
Ranking 30th, Atlanta sits at the bottom of the league in runs, scoring 482 this season. Washington ranks in the top 10 at 10th with 584.
Ranking 11th, Atlanta is in the top half of the league in walks, notching 394 this season. Washington ranks in the top 10 at sixth with 439.
When the Nationals hit at least one home run, they are 52-33. When the Braves hit at least one homer, they have a 32-30 record.