The pesky Washington Nationals didn’t go away again last night, as they topped ace Mike Soroka and the Braves for a 5-3 win Saturday night in Atlanta. Anibal Sanchez turned back the clocks with another solid performance to steady for the Nationals. The Nationals got to Soroka for 9 hits and 4 earned runs in 6 innings of work. It was a rare off night for Soroka, but the Nationals have a sneaky good offense that can’t be overlooked.
Some teams may not take notice of the Nationals until it’s too late and they’re sitting home while the Nats are in the postseason. If the postseason started today, Washington would be in playing the Brewers in the Wild Card Game. Bryce Harper’s team are a half game back, so some of these Nationals and Phillies meetings down the stretch are going to be interesting.
Will Bryce ultimately get some revenge later in the year? We’ll find out soon, but the Nationals are quite content with where they’re at. If they want to catch the Braves in the NL East, it’s going to take a lot more work. The Braves still own a 5.5-game lead despite falling Saturday. Nonetheless, don’t discount the Nationals, they could be the dark horse of the National League.
At the end of the day, the Braves are still the leaders of the division and are in control. They’re in 2nd behind the Dodgers, so despite Braves’ fans overreacting because of the loss a night ago, they are in control of their own destiny. The Nationals are sending out Joe Ross for his first start of the season.
He is getting the spot start only because of Austin Voth getting scratched due to shoulder soreness. Ross has been in the bullpen and been getting hammered, but the Nationals don’t have too many choices here. Kevin Gausman, who has been struggling to find a rhythm, will get the green light for the Braves. Head below for our free Nationals vs. Braves pick on Sunday Night Baseball.
Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves Pick:
Betting odds provided by bovada.lv
Joe Ross has made 17 appearences out of the bullpen and has gotten punished throughout the season. He was sent down to the minors after allowing 5 hits and 4 earned runs in just 1 inning against the Braves on June 22nd. The Braves ultimately went on to win that one by a score of 13-9.
Ross has some previous experience in the starting rotation, but has failed the last two seasons. In three starts a season ago, Ross posted an ERA of 5.06 in 16 innings. He got more work the previous season, but the results were largely the same.
Ross posted an ERA of 5.01 in 73.2 innings. Things went south for Ross after having to receive Tommy John surgery in 2019. He has never been able to fully recover and might be getting thrown to the wolves on Sunday night in this outing. In Triple-A, Ross was serviceable with a 4.28 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. I wouldn’t expect that to translate well in the majors, though. The Braves have done a solid job against Ross, with a .333 batting average and .424 OBP in 57 at-bats.
The Nationals might have a case in this one against Kevin Gausman, though. Gausman has regressed significantly in 2019, as he has fallen off from a 4.43 ERA from a season ago. Gausman goes into Sunday night with a bad 6.21 ERA in 70.1 innings. He has had absolutely zero control on the road and has gotten tagged for a 6.35 ERA, .380 OBA, and 1.69 WHIP in 28.1 innings.
Before going on the IL, Gausman was getting embarrassed for a sky-high ERA of 18.36 and 3.36 WHIP in his previous three outings. In other words, he loaded the bases up on average every inning. Part of his terrible numbers is due in part because of the Nationals. The Nats scattered 8 hits and 8 earned runs in just 1 inning on Gausman in May.
In 100 at-bats, Washington are hitting .330 with a .373 OBP against him. Fresh off a rehab stint, he is likely to have a rude welcome back in the spotlight on Sunday night. We cashed a pick on the UNDER last night in this series. However, tonight looks like an OVER night with plenty of runs projected to be on the scoreboard.