A big time series begins Thursday in Atlanta between the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves. If the Nationals want to play catch up in the NL East, here is their best chance at doing it against the team they are looking to catch. Having said that, it’s still not going to be easy even if they sweep the Braves.
They are currently seven games behind going into Thursday, so regardless of what happens this weekend, the Nationals are still in a tough position. At least when it comes to the NL East. The Nationals look ready to host a Wild Card Game at the moment.
The Nats are three games up on the Cubs for homefield in the Wild Card Game. Along with a three-game lead on the Cubs, they have a six-game advantage over the Phillies for a wildcard. It’d be an epic collapse if the Nationals miss out completely, but I don’t see that happening. They’re certainly a better team than advertised or getting credit for. But if I have to play Washington in the postseason, I’d be taking them seriously or risk going home early in October.
And really, the same goes for the Braves. They aren’t a team to fool around with in the National League. In other words, I just don’t see the Dodgers having an easy time cruising to the World Series. The Nationals and Braves would both give them a major battle.
In a do-or-die situation, Stephen Strasburg wouldn’t be the guy I’d like to see as an opposing club. Strasburg is going to be out there tonight, or at least scheduled to get the nod. He is expected to be up against Max Fried of the Braves. Head below for our free Nationals vs. Braves pick and the rest of the writeup below.
Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves Pick:
Betting odds provided by bovada.lv
The Nationals look like a good bet to play in the postseason, while Bryce Harper and the Phillies are in dire straits heading into September 5th. It could be worse, but they’ve been stationary at about three games back for a while now. They have failed to draw closer last night after the Reds knocked them off by a score of 8-5.
The Phillies erased a 5-0 deficit, but slipped right back yielding 3 unanswered runs to conclude the game. Washington are on track to host a postseason game and are winners in six of their previous eight games. They are coming off an 8-4 loss yesterday against the Mets, though. This was after winning in dramatic fashion Tuesday night. The Nationals were down 10-4 in the 9th and stormed back for 7 runs in the final frame to win. Yesterday was the letdown spot for them, as they hope that the hangover doesn’t carryover into this weekend.
Strasburg will do his best to avoid it against a red-hot Braves squad. Atlanta enter on a six-game winning streak. Strasburg has been hot as well, however. He’s been on fire in his most recent outings, as he goes into SunTrust Park with an ERA of 0.86 and 0.62 WHIP in his last three starts. The Braves have gotten to Strasburg for 11 home runs and 46 runs in 317 at-bats, so they’ve scored against him in the past. In his last trip to Atlanta, he surrendered 8 hits and 3 earned runs in 5.1 innings.
While Strasburg has been on fire, Fried has been struggling with a 6.19 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in his previous three outings. However, Fried will be home at SunTrust Park where he’s been a better hurler. He’s posted a 3.74 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in Atlanta, while Strasburg has worked for a 3.59 ERA in 95.1 innings on the road. The Braves as a team have excelled at home, with a record of 42-27 on the season. Conversely, the Nats have been average at 37-31 as visitors. Getting the Braves at home as underdogs is always going to be good value.