The MLB has a total of fifteen games on for Friday night once again. The Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals will meet up in the first of a three game series between the teams on June 21. Both teams are competing in the NL East, which should help lead to a good matchup throughout this series. Friday night’s game is expected to start at around 7:05 PM Eastern time.
The Braves have been one of the leagues hottest teams recently. Atlanta has a record of 44-31, which has them in the first place of the NL East. The Braves are coming off an 8-2 homestand and have gone 14-4 since the calendar hit June. Atlanta will be starting a ten game road trip and will look to get off on the right foot with a victory over the Nationals on Friday night.
Washington has earned a record of 36-38 to this point in the season, which has them in third place of the NL East. The Nationals are another team that has done really well so far this month, putting up a record of 12-5 throughout the month of June. Washington has won four games in a row and will look to keep their strong play going with a win in the first game of this series against the Braves.
The Braves and the Nationals will start what should be a good three-game series on Friday night. Atlanta and Washington have only played twice through the season so far. These two teams have put up solid records in the NL East so far this season. The Nationals are coming off a series sweep against the Philadelphia Phillies and will look to gain some ground on the Braves with a series win against them.
The first game between these two teams this season was on May 28 in Atlanta. These teams started out real close with the Braves up 2-1 at the end of the fifth. Washington added three runs in the top of the sixth and Howie Kendrick hit the eventual game-winning home run to make it 5-2. Austin Riley had a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth to make it close, but it was not enough. Stephen Strasburg got the win, pitching seven innings and allowing five hits and two runs.
The second game of the series was not nearly as close. Howie Kendrick earned four RBI’s and Matt Adams had another three RBI’s. Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto, and Victor Robles all added two RBI’s as the Nationals jumped out to a 14-0 lead. Austin Riley hit a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh, but that was all the excitement the Braves could get. Anibal Sanchez got the win pitching one run hit through six innings in route to a 14-4 win.
The Braves hosted the first two games of the season between these two clubs, but it was all Washington. The Nationals combined for a 19-8 score over those first two games. Atlanta will look to bounce back in a big way on Friday night as they try and take a win against their division rivals. The Braves have been red hot recently and were struggling last time they met with Washington.
Atlanta’s bats have been hitting extremely well as of late. The Braves have been led by Freddie Freeman who has 92 hits, 21 home runs, 55 RBI’s and a batting average of .315, all of which lead the team. Ronald Acuna Jr. has 87 hits, 17 home runs and 49 RBI’s. Ozzie Albies has earned 84 hits, while Dansby Swanson and Nick Markakis each have over 70 hits this season.
Adam Eaton leads Washington with 75 hits on the season, but only has six home runs and 19 RBI’s. Anthony Rendon has earned 67 hits, 16 home runs, 50 RBI’s and a batting average of .309 this season. Howie Kendrick and Brian Dozier each have 12 home runs on the season as well. Juan Soto is second on the team in hits with 69 this season. Kendrick leads in batting average with a .333.
The Braves have a clear edge in this matchup when it comes to hitting. Atlanta has been tearing it up this month at bat and the Nationals will have their work cut out for them as they try and slow down one of the hottest teams in the league. Washington has a solid balance when it comes to hitting, but do not have that one superstar hitter.
Dallas Keuchel will make his debut for Atlanta on Friday night. Keuchel sat in the free agency market for quite a while before the Braves picked him up. He played some time down in the farm system and now is back up to make is start in the majors. Last season, Keuchel earned a 3.74 ERA with a WHIP of 1.314 through 34 starts with the Astros. He struggled a bit last season but hopes to bounce back in Atlanta.
Stephen Strasburg will start on the mound for the Nationals on Friday. Strasburg has put up a record of 7-4 through 15 starts so far this season. He has an ERA of 3.75 and a WHIP of 1.063. Strasburg averages around 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings. His last start came on June 15 against the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he allowed nine hits and six runs through five innings.
Keuchel is a bit of a wild card going into Friday night’s matchup. The Braves will hope he jumps out to a fast start to help fix some of their pitching problems. Strasburg has struggled in his last performance and will look for a bounce-back game against Atlanta. Strasburg already has one win on the season against the Braves and will look for his second on Friday night.
The Braves will come out quick on Friday to try and avoid falling to the Nationals for the third time this season. Atlanta is coming off an amazing home stand and will bring some of that momentum into this series. Strasburg will have a rough time as he tries to cool off the Braves hitting. If Keuchel can come out and put up a good performance, I believe that it will help lead to an Atlanta win.
BetOnline has Washington listed as a -134 against the money line for Friday night. This implies that the Nationals will win this game around 57.3 percent of the time. I believe that the Braves have a possible edge in this game if Keuchel looks good in his start. Atlanta’s offense has been cooking as of late and I believe that they have a lot of value as an underdog right now.