Reynaldo Lopez (0-1, 9.35 ERA) and Rob Whalen (1-0, 5.73 ERA) take the hill in the second of a three-game series between the Washington Nationals (67-47) and the Atlanta Braves (44-72) at Nationals Park. The Braves won the last game 8-5, and Atlanta leads the series 1-0. Action begins at 7:05 p.m. ET on Saturday, Aug. 13 and can be seen on MASN and FSSO.
Lopez pitched 4.0 innings in his last outing, surrendering three runs, striking out four and walking five in a 5-3 defeat to the Giants. Daniel Murphy (.348, 69 Rs, 21 HRs, 82 RBIs, 3 SBs) had another good game yesterday, going 2 for 3 with two runs. Whalen went 6.0 innings, surrendering three runs, striking out seven and walking one in a 4-3 win over the Brewers in his most recent start. Freddie Freeman (.284, 65 Rs, 22 HRs, 53 RBIs, 4 SBs) has been successful at the plate for the Braves, going 2 for 3 yesterday with two runs, one home run, and four RBIs.
Washington is a -175 favorite against Atlanta and the Over/Under (O/U) for this game is sitting at nine runs. Though the Nationals have had a tough season in terms of their overall money line (-55), they have done fairly well as a favorite with a record of 57-32. Washington has had an impressive season against division opponents, earning 25-11 and 30-15 records as the favorite and SU, respectively. The Nationals have no trouble scoring as they rank fourth in the NL in offense with 4.7 runs per game. The Nationals are one of the best in the MLB in terms of home runs with 150. Washington is one of the best in the NL in terms of walks, earning an average of 3.5 per game. Opposing batters know they're in for a battle when they play Washington. The Nationals are one of the top teams when it comes to pitching, allowing just 3.5 runs per game. The Nationals are the third-best team in the league at limiting hits and walks to their opponents, recording a WHIP of 1.162 so far this season.
Over in the other dugout, Atlanta is coming in with an overall money line of -412 and a disappointing record of 41-62 as the underdog. They have played poorly as the underdog with a 20-21 record against fellow NL East members, and a 7-3 record SU. Offensively, the Braves have really picked up the pace in the last 10 games. They have exceeded their season average of 3.6 runs per game by averaging 5.2 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 3.9 against division foes.
The Nationals have controlled the season series, 6-1. The Nationals have a 51-36 record against right-handed starting pitchers on the year, which is what they'll be facing when Whalen takes the mound. Lopez (RHP) will be on the hill against the Braves, who have a 32-45 record against right-handed starting pitchers.
Predictions: SU Winner - WAS, O/U - Over
The Nationals sit at 30-15 against their divisional rivals, while the Braves are 20-25.
The Nationals managed to give up five walks in their last game. They'll have to pick it up against the Braves who are coming in with a 7-9 record against opponents who give up that many walks or more.
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 78 this season. Washington ranks fifth with 150 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 8.34.
Ranking 30th, Atlanta is at the bottom of the league for its on-base plus slugging percentage (.674). Washington ranks in the top half at 11th with an OPS of .756.
When the Braves allow at least one home run, they are 19-56. When the Nationals allow one or more homers, they have a 38-36 record.