Gio Gonzalez (2-2, 3.86 ERA) and the Washington Nationals (14-15) meet Eric Stults (1-2, 4.91 ERA) and the Atlanta Braves (14-14) in the first of a three-game division series at Nationals Park. The game gets underway at 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday, May. 8 and will air on FSN-S and MASN2.
Gonzalez has a 5.20 ERA and a 2-8 record in his career against the Braves, and is up against a strong Atlanta offense that's hitting .257 on the year. Bryce Harper (.265, 21 Rs, 8 HRs, 20 RBIs) played well again Wednesday, going 3 for 4 with three runs, three home runs, and five RBIs. In his career against the Nationals, Stults is 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA. He gets a struggling Washington offense that's batting just .239. Freddie Freeman (.318, 20 Rs, 5 HRs, 17 RBIs, 1 SB) has been doing well, going 3 for 4 Wednesday with three RBIs.
The odds are even for this game and the Over/Under (O/U) is presently unavailable. The Nationals have an SU record of 12-11 against teams in their division. Washington has averaged 5.4 runs per game over the last 10 games, higher than its season average of 4.1. They have been very patient at the plate, ranking fifth in the NL with an average of 3.3 walks per game.
Against teams in their division, the Braves are 10-11 SU. During the last 10 games, they averaged 5.6 runs per game, above their 4.5 season average. The Braves average just 6.2 strikeouts per game, good for least in the NL. Atlanta's pitching staff has allowed an average of 5.6 runs per game during the last 10 games, higher than their season average of 4.4. They also allow just 7.5 hits per road game, good for third in the NL.
In their previous three games this season, the Nationals have a 2-1 record. The Nationals will take on a left-hander (Stults) in this game and have a 4-2 record against left-handed starting pitchers this season.
Predictions: SU Winner - ATL
The Nationals are 12-11 against their divisional rivals, while the Braves are 10-11 against their division.
The Nationals are 2-1 in games that go into extra innings. Meanwhile, the Braves are 0-1 in such matchups.
The Braves managed to give up four walks in their last game. They'll have to pick it up against the Nationals who are heading in with a 9-3 record against opponents who give up that many walks or more.
When they outhit their opponents, the Braves are 10-4. The Nationals have a 10-1 record when outhitting opponents.
Ranking 15th, Washington is in the top half of the league in runs, scoring 119 this season. Atlanta ranks in the top 10 at 10th with 125.
Washington and Atlanta both rank in the top 10 of the league in walks. Washington sits at seventh with 96 this season and Atlanta ranks 10th with 93.
When the Nationals hit at least one home run, they are 10-6. When the Braves hit at least one homer, they have a 10-7 record.