Manny Banuelos (0-0, 0.00 ERA) and Max Scherzer (9-5, 1.79 ERA) start in the last of a three-game series between the Atlanta Braves (37-41) and the Washington Nationals (43-35) at Turner Field. The Braves won the last game 4-1 and the series is currently tied 1-1. Action begins at 7:10 p.m. ET on Thursday, Jul. 2 and can be seen on MASN, SPSO and MLB Network.
This is the first time Banuelos will pitch this season. Cameron Maybin (.282, 31 Rs, 6 HRs, 36 RBIs, 14 SBs) went 1 for 3 yesterday with one run and one stolen base. Scherzer is 1-2 with a 4.12 ERA when pitching against the Braves. He is up against a quality Atlanta offense which is hitting .256 this season. Bryce Harper (.340, 53 Rs, 24 HRs, 58 RBIs, 3 SBs) went 1 for 3 yesterday.
Washington is favored (-216) over Atlanta and the Over/Under (O/U) is sitting at seven runs. The Braves have an overall money line of +279 and a record as the underdog of 27-35. Within its division, Atlanta has a 5-4 as the underdog and an 18-20 SU. The Braves have seen a decline in scoring as of late, averaging 2.2 runs during the last 10 games compared to their season average of 4.0 runs per game. Atlanta strikes out the least of any team in the NL, with only 6.8 per game.
In games where it is the favorite, Washington has a 35-24 record and an overall money line of +33. They played solid baseball as the favorite over their last 10 games with an 8-2 record, and an 8-2 record SU. Washington is excellent at drawing walks with 3.1 per game, ranking fourth in the NL. The Nationals allow 4.0 runs per game, but have improved upon those numbers in the past 10 games, allowing 2.1 runs per game during that span. When it comes to issuing walks, the Nationals have the fewest in the NL with only 2.2 walks allowed per game.
The Nationals have controlled the season series, 9-2. The Braves have a 32-35 record against right-handed starting pitchers on the year, which is what they'll be facing when Scherzer takes the mound. Banuelos (LHP) will be on the hill against the Nationals, who have a very good 11-4 record against left-handed starting pitchers.
Predictions: SU Winner - WSH, O/U - Over
The Nationals sit at 23-14 against their divisional rivals, while the Braves are 18-20.
When the Nationals play into extra innings, they have a 5-1 record. The Braves are 2-5 when their games exceed nine innings.
Having scored one run in their last game, the Nationals are going to have to up their game if they want to win this matchup. The Braves have a 16-1 record in games where opponents scored that many runs or fewer.
When they outhit their opponents, the Braves are 28-12. The Nationals have a 33-2 record when outhitting opponents.
Ranking 21st, Atlanta is near the bottom of the league in runs, scoring 309 this season. Washington ranks in the top 10 at ninth with 343.
Ranking 15th, Atlanta is in the top half of the league in walks, notching 226 this season. Washington ranks in the top 10 at ninth with 244.
The Braves are 21-14 when they hit at least one home run. The Nationals perform similarly when they hit one or more homers with a 30-15 record.