In the first of a four-game series between the Atlanta Braves (44-76) and the Washington Nationals (70-49) at Turner Field, Rob Whalen (1-1, 7.31 ERA) and Reynaldo Lopez (1-1, 5.74 ERA) get the start. The game starts at 7:10 p.m. ET on Thursday, Aug. 18 and will air on MASN and FSSE.
In his most recent outing, Whalen pitched 5.0 innings, allowing six runs and striking out five in a 7-6 loss to the Nationals. Freddie Freeman (.288, 68 Rs, 24 HRs, 56 RBIs, 4 SBs) went 1 for 2 yesterday with one run, one home run, and two RBIs. The Nationals were victorious over the Braves 7-6 the last time Lopez pitched. He went 7.0 innings, giving up one run, striking out two and walking two. Bryce Harper (.241, 63 Rs, 21 HRs, 62 RBIs, 15 SBs) has been doing well, going 2 for 4 yesterday with two runs, one home run, and two RBIs.
Atlanta is a +143 underdog in this game, and the Over/Under (O/U) is set at nine runs. The Braves perform poorly as an underdog with a 41-65 record and have an overall money line of -712. They have disappointing records of 20-23 as the underdog and 20-27 SU within their division. The most recent 10-game stretch for the Braves has gone great. Over that span, Atlanta is averaging 4.8 runs per game, well over their season average of 3.6. Whenever an NL East opponent shows up on the calendar, the Braves pitch better. They allow an average of 4.7 runs per game, but allow just 4.0 against teams from their own division.
Moving on to the opposing team, the Nationals come into this game in an interesting position. They have a negative money line (-43) but have won more than 60 percent of games played as the favorite (60-34). Against divisional opponents, they are 32-15 SU and have played well as the favorite with a 27-11 record. The Nationals rank third in the NL in road scoring, averaging four runs per game. Washington has an eye for the strike zone, ranking fourth in the NL with 3.5 walks per game. The Nationals are one of the top pitching staffs in the NL, essentially shutting down opponents to the tune of 3.6 runs allowed per game. They have a WHIP of 1.174 on the year, good for third in the league.
The Nationals had the upper hand against the Braves in their previous nine games this season, earning an 8-1 record. This game will feature Lopez (RHP) on the mound against the Braves, who have a 32-48 record when they take on a right-handed starter. Taking the hill against the Nationals will be the right-hander Whalen. They sport a 53-38 record against righties.
Predictions: SU Winner - WAS, O/U - Under
The Nationals sit at 32-15 against their divisional rivals, while the Braves are 20-27.
The Braves managed to give up nine walks in their last game. They'll have to pick it up against the Nationals who are coming in with a 2-2 record against opponents who give up that many walks or more.
When they are outhit, the Braves are 7-52. The Nationals have a 12-28 record when opponents outhit them.
Ranking 30th in home runs, Atlanta has hit 81 this season. Washington ranks sixth with 159 home runs.
Atlanta and Washington both rank in the top 10 of the league in hits. Atlanta sits at 10th with 8.32 hits per game and Washington ranks eighth with 8.58.
Ranking 30th, Atlanta is at the bottom of the league for its on-base plus slugging percentage (.674). Washington ranks in the top 10 at seventh with an OPS of .763.
When the Nationals allow at least one home run, they are 40-38. When the Braves allow one or more homers, they have a 19-59 record.