Stephen Strasburg (15-2, 2.80 ERA) starts for the Washington Nationals (67-46) as they square off against Mike Foltynewicz (5-5, 4.37 ERA) and the Atlanta Braves (43-72) in the first of a three-game series at Nationals Park. Action begins at 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday, Aug. 12 and can be seen on MASN and FSSO.
Strasburg pitched 4.2 innings in his most recent start, surrendering four runs, striking out eight and walking one in a 7-1 defeat to the Giants. Daniel Murphy (.346, 67 Rs, 21 HRs, 82 RBIs, 3 SBs) went 1 for 4 Wednesday with one run and one RBI. Foltynewicz went 6.0 innings, surrendering one run, striking out four and walking two in a 6-3 win over the Cardinals in his last outing. Freddie Freeman (.281, 63 Rs, 21 HRs, 49 RBIs, 4 SBs) went 1 for 2 yesterday with one run and one RBI.
This one isn't expected to be close when Washington, a substantial -280 favorite, takes on Atlanta. According to the oddsmakers, the Over/Under (O/U) is currently seven runs. The Nationals have recorded an overall money line of +185 and have shown high-level performance as a favorite this season with a record of 57-31. Washington has had an impressive season against division opponents, earning 25-10 and 30-14 records as the favorite and SU, respectively. The Nationals are one of the best in the MLB in terms of home runs with 149. Washington is one of the best in the NL in terms of walks, earning an average of 3.5 per game. As for the Washington defense and pitching staff, it's been a struggle for opposing teams to score runs against the Nationals. The 3.5 runs that Washington's pitchers allow per game makes them the second-ranked staff in the NL. The Nationals are the third-best team in the league at limiting hits and walks to their opponents, recording a WHIP of 1.158 so far this season.
In the other locker room, Atlanta is coming in with an overall money line of -632 and a disappointing record of 40-62 as the underdog. They have played poorly as the underdog with a 19-21 record against NL East rivals, and a 6-4 record SU. Offensively, the Braves have really picked up the pace in the last 10 games. They have exceeded their season average of 3.5 runs per game by averaging 4.7 during that stretch. The Braves average 4.7 runs allowed per game, but does better whenever another team from the NL East is on the schedule. They bring that runs allowed average down to 3.8 against division foes.
The Nationals have dominated the season series, 6-0. The Nationals have a 51-35 record against right-handed starting pitchers on the year, which is what they'll be facing when Foltynewicz takes the mound. Strasburg (RHP) will be on the hill against the Braves, who have a 31-45 record against right-handed starting pitchers.
Predictions: SU Winner - WAS, O/U - Under
The Nationals hold a 30-14 record in matchups against NL East rivals, while the Braves currently sit at 19-25 in these games.
The Nationals are coming into this game after allowing one walk during their last outing. The Braves have a 5-17 record when opponents give up one walk or less.
When they are outhit, the Braves are 7-49. The Nationals have a 12-28 record when opponents outhit them.
Ranking 30th in home runs, Atlanta has hit 75 this season. Washington ranks fifth with 149 home runs.
Washington and Atlanta both rank in the top 10 of the league in hits. Washington sits at eighth with 8.54 hits per game and Atlanta ranks 10th with 8.33.
Ranking 30th, Atlanta is at the bottom of the league for its on-base plus slugging percentage (.671). Washington ranks in the top half at 11th with an OPS of .756.
When the Braves allow at least one home run, they are 18-56. When the Nationals allow one or more homers, they have a 38-35 record.