The Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves open a three-game series at Truist Park in Atlanta on Friday, August 6, 2021, so we’re taking a closer look at this National League East showdown to get the best Nationals vs. Braves betting pick.
The Braves have dominated the Nationals lately, winning seven of their previous nine encounters, but Washington has emerged victorious in two of its last three outings at Truist Park. Atlanta is a strong -190 fave for Friday’s opener, according to Bovada Sportsbook, while the totals sit at 9.5 runs.
The Nats are losing the pace in the NL East
The Washington Nationals were trying to avoid a sweep at home on Thursday night after dropping the first three games of the Phillies series. They fell to 49-59 on the season following a 9-5 defeat to Philadelphia this past Wednesday, so the Nationals were seven games behind the New York Mets and six behind the Phillies.
Washington has struggled mightily on the mound since the All-Star break, registering the highest ERA in the majors (6.00) to go with a poor 1.44 WHIP and a .273 batting average against. On the other side of the ball, the Nats have recorded the second-best OPS in baseball (.834) while scoring 102 runs over their previous 19 games (Thursday’s games are excluded from the analysis).
Erick Fedde will get the ball Friday, and the 28-year-old righty is 4-7 with a pedestrian 5.01 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in 17 starts this season. Fedde has had a lot of ups and downs so far, and over his previous two outings (10.2 frames), the right-hander has yielded seven earned runs on 12 hits and two walks while striking out 12. He’s 0-3 with a disastrous 12.86 ERA in five career starts and one relief appearance against the Braves.
The Braves are chasing the NL East title
The Atlanta Braves were 54-54 on Thursday, sitting at the third spot of the NL East, just a couple of games behind the top-seeded New York Mets. However, the Braves were also trailing seven games behind the bottom wild card, so winning the divisional title seems like the only way to the playoffs.
Atlanta has scored 96 runs in 19 games since the All-Star, posting the 11th-best OPS in the majors (.765) and batting .264. The Braves have relied on their pitching, tallying a 3.11 ERA in that 19-game span. Also, their bullpen boasts the fourth-lowest ERA in baseball in the second half of the season (2.76).
Kyle Muller will get the starting call Friday against the Nats, and he’s 2-3 with a sharp 2.43 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in six starts and one relief appearance this season. The 23-year-old southpaw is enjoying a wonderful rookie season, posting a 33/15 K/BB ratio across 29.2 innings of work. He’ll get the Nationals for the first time.
- 4-10 in the last 14 games overall
- 2-9 in the last 11 games on the road
- 7-2 in the last nine games against Washington
Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves Pick
The Braves destroyed Erick Fedde on each of their previous two dates in 2021. Fedde allowed 11 runs (ten earned) on 11 hits and five walks while punching out just four through 6.2 innings of work, so I’m backing the Braves to put on a strong offensive performance and win this game.
Furthermore, the Braves bullpen has been one of the best in the majors since the All-Star, while the Nationals ‘pen has been the worst by far. Although the Nats are playing good offense at the moment, I don’t think their pitching staff will be able to deal with the Braves.
The Nationals bullpen has been a disaster since the All-Star, recording a 7.79 ERA and 5.96 FIP while surrendering 2.09 home runs per nine innings. If the Nats continue with their poor performance, the Braves will score in double digits.
However, the under has hit in seven of the previous eight meetings between Washington and Atlanta. I’m still backing the over, but the Braves remain my top pick here.