The Washington Nationals square off against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday, August 8, 2021, to wrap up a three-game series at Truist Park in Atlanta, so we’re taking a closer look at this National League East showdown.
The Braves opened the set with a convincing 8-4 victory last Friday night (the middle contest has been excluded from this preview), recording their eighth win in 11 encounters with the Nationals this season. Atlanta is a firm -200 fave for Sunday’s closer, while the Nats are +185 road dogs with a total of 9.0 runs on MyBookie Sportsbook.
The Nationals’ free fall continues
The Washington Nationals extended their losing streak to five games with that 8-4 defeat at the Braves, falling to 49-61 on the season that might be over soon. It was the Nats’ 12th loss over their previous 16 outings, so they were eight games behind the NL East leaders on Saturday.
Since the All-Star break, the Nationals have registered the highest ERA in the majors (5.93) to go with a 1.47 WHIP and a .275 batting average against. That tells you enough about their pitching woes, while on the other side of the ball, the Nats have been terrific, posting the third-best OPS in baseball (.819) while batting .271.
Patrick Corbin will get the nod Sunday in Atlanta, and the 32-year-old lefty is having a nightmare season. Corbin owns a 5.74 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, and a 90/38 K/BB ratio across 21 starts and 116 innings of work. He also carries a horrible 5.47 FIP.
The southpaw was charged for a loss in his lone start against the Braves this season. It was back on June 3, and Corbin yielded four earned runs on six hits and a couple of walks through 5.1 innings on the road. He’s 0-4 with a 5.12 ERA in six career starts at Truist Park.
The Braves are heating up at the plate
The Atlanta Braves extended their winning streak to four games last Friday, improving to 56-54 on the season. The Braves have won five of their previous six contests, scoring six or more runs in each of those five victories, and they desperately need to stay hot at the dish.
Atlanta has suffered nine losses in 21 games since the All-Star despite the third-lowest ERA in baseball (3.15). The Braves’ pitching staff is doing a great job at the moment and needs a proper run support, as Atlanta was just one game behind the NL East leaders on Saturday.
Max Fried will toe the slab Sunday, and he’s 1-1 in three starts against the Nationals this season. The 27-year-old left-hander has allowed 11 runs (ten earned) on 18 hits and four walks across just 10.2 innings of work, as two of those three starts have been pretty rough.
Fried is 8-7 with a 4.05 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, and 3.76 FIP in 18 starts this term. He’s been excellent last time out, tossing six scoreless innings in a 6-1 victory at the St. Louis Cardinals.
- 4-12 in the last 16 games overall
- 2-10 in the last 12 games on the road
- 8-2 in the last ten games against Washington
- 5-1 in the last six games overall
Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves Pick
The Atlanta Braves are slashing .271/.339/.457 in the last 15 days, and I’m expecting another strong performance when they face off against Patrick Corbin, who’s allowed a whopping 18 earned runs over his previous four starts (22.2 frames).
The current Braves are slashing .275/.328/.424 in 136 at-bats against Corbin, and I’ve already mentioned Patrick’s woes at Truist Park. The Nationals bullpen won’t help a lot after registering a 5.94 ERA in the last six games.
Pick: Take Atlanta Braves at -200
The under is 7-2 in the last nine meetings between the Nats and Braves, but the over looks like a way to go Sunday. The opening clash of this set produced 12 runs in total, and the over is 7-0 in the Nationals’ last seven games, excluding Saturday’s clash against the Braves.
Max Fried hasn’t been at his best for most of the season, and the Nationals are way more dangerous when hitting against the lefties (.799 OPS). On the other side, the visiting pitching staff will have a tall task against the in-form Braves, so I’m backing the over.
Pick: Go over 9.0 runs at -110