The Braves head home to Atlanta after their comeback bid fell short in Milwaukee yesterday afternoon. Down by 5 runs in the 8th inning, the Braves scored 4 runs to come up one short Wednesday. Following a hot run of five straight wins and wins in eight out of nine games, the Braves suffered a couple of losses against the Brewers. At least yesterday was better than Tuesday, where they embarrassed by a score of 13-1.
Bryse Wilson lasted 6 innings, allowing 4 earned runs before the bullpen took it on the chin. The pitching was better for the Braves on Wednesday, but the result was still a loss for the Braves. Thanks to that nice run they were on, and the Phillies generally playing like garbage, they’ve generated a comfortable 6-game lead in the NL East. Not over the Phillies, who were expected to be their No. 1 competition, but the Nationals. Look out for this Nationals team coming on hot in the second-half.
If I’m going to select a sleeper team to make things interesting later in the regular season, the Nationals are probably it. They may not win the NL East, but if they get into the postseason as a wildcard, it’s not a team I’d want to be playing. What was hurting them earlier in the season has improved.
The bullpen was a mess, but they’ve steadily improved and are now serviceable. Is there room for improvement? Yes, certainly, but I think this is where they can become a true sleeper. If the front office makes smart moves and bring in talent to help the bullpen, they’re suddenly a tough out. However, every contending team would love to acquire bullpen talent, so the market is very competitive in that regard.
The Braves on the other hand have a lot of depth and are well-rounded. They could afford to add a starting pitcher, say Madison Bumgarner and a closer, maybe Shane Green? Stephen Strasburg will command the mound for the Nationals tonight, while Julio Teheran will counter for the Braves. Head below for our free Nationals vs. Braves pick.
Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves Pick:
Betting odds provided by bovada.lv
Stephen Strasburg has been in a nice groove recently and looks like the pitcher we all came to expect when he was a rookie. Injuries held back his development and we’ve been waiting for him to look the pitcher he is right now. He has the talent to be elite, but being banged up can hamper anyone.
2017 showed the type of pitcher Strasburg can consistently be when healthy. He finished with an ERA of 2.52 for a career-high. However, he only made 22 starts a season ago and was held to an ERA of 3.71. With 19 starts under his belt already in 2019, he is ready to break his high from last season soon, knock on wood.
Strasburg enters with an electric ERA of 1.77 and 0.93 WHIP in his previous three outings. He’s been a better hurler on the road, with a 2.89 ERA and 1.03 WHIP as opposed to a 4.11 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in Washington. Strasburg hasn’t allowed a run in his previous 13.1 innings of work, which includes two starts.
In his last appearance against the Braves, the Nats were winners by a score of 4-3 on June 21st. He also guided them to a win on May 28th with a 5-4 win against the Braves. Strasburg hopes to get this team back on track following a sad 9-2 loss against the lowly Orioles. That was only the second game in the Nationals’ previous 12 games which went OVER the total.
Julio Teheran might have something to say about that, though. Teheran started this year out red-hot, and then fell back a bit, but is back on his horse of late. He sports an ERA of 2.35 in his last three outings, which encompasses 15.1 innings of play with only 4 runs allowed. Teheran has been hot at home, with an ERA of 2.66 in 44 innings. The total looks a bit too high in this spot. With Strasburg and Teheran getting the starts, I will take my chances on this one staying UNDER the total.
*Julio Teheran has been scratched and replaced with Kyle Wright.