Atlanta Braves (52-42) at Washington Nationals (48-48)
|Date & Time||Friday July 20, 2018, 7:05 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Washington Nationals -174 / Atlanta Braves +164 --- Over/Under: 8.5
The Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals square off in game one of a three game NL East division set in MLB action from Nationals Park on Friday.
The Atlanta Braves will look to start the second half on a high note after finishing the first half by avoiding a three game sweep at the hands of Arizona, winning the finale by a final score of 5-1. Preston Tucker had a pinch-hit solo home run, while Dansby Swanson and Freddie Freeman each had a double and an RBI, with Swanson going 2 for 3 at the dish. Ozzie Albies and Nick Markakis each added an RBI to round out the scoring for the Braves while Johan Camargo added a base knock as well to cap off Atlanta’s offense in the victory. Julio Teheran got the win to improve to 7-6 this season after tossing 6.1 shutout innings, allowing just four hits while striking out six. Anibal Sanchez will start game one and is 4-2 with a 2.60 ERA and 62 strikeouts this season. In his career, Sanchez is 9-1 with a 2.01 ERA and 118 strikeouts against Washington.
The Washington Nationals will look to make up some ground in the division race, starting the second half where they started the year, at .500 after salvaging a series split with the Mets in their series finale, winning by a final score of 6-1. Trea Turner and Daniel Murphy each had two RBIs, while Michael A. Taylor and Adam Eaton each contributed an RBI as well, despite both going hitless at the plate in the win. Matt Adams went 2 for 4 at the dish, while Anthony Rendon, Mark Reynolds, Brian Goodwin and starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson each added a base hit as well to cap off Washington’s offense in the win. Hellickson got the win on the mound as well, allowing just one run on two hits while striking out six over six innings of work. Stephen Strasburg will start game one and is 6-6 with a 3.46 ERA and 95 strikeouts this season. In his career, Strasburg is 11-10 with a 3.85 ERA and 193 strikeouts against Atlanta.
Atlanta is 7-3 in Sanchez’s last 10 starts and 5-1 in their last 6 division matchups while the under is 4-1 in their last 5 games overall. Washington is 1-4 in Strasburg’s last 5 home starts and 1-6 in their last 7 home games against a team with a winning record while the under is 7-1 in Strasburg’s last 8 division starts. Atlanta is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings between these two teams.
Both of these teams need a strong start to the second half, maybe more so Washington. However, this line is a little bit baffling to me. Sure, the Braves finished the first half struggling, so much so that they’ve fallen out of first in the division by a half game. But it’s not like Washington’s been lighting the world on fire, and who knows what we will see from Strasburg in his first start in almost two months. Even before he went on the shelf, Strasburg has given up three or more runs in 11 of his 13 starts this season and Strasburg in his career has been average against Atlanta. Sanchez has given up one run in back-to-back starts and has been strong against the Nationals in his career, so I’ll take a shot with Atlanta and the plus money on Friday.