The Washington Nationals (22-29, 9-14 away) battle the Atlanta Braves (25-27, 14-15 home) in game three of a four-game series between the two National League East rivals in Major League Baseball (MLB). Atlanta is 6-2 against the Nationals this season, but Washington took down the Braves on Tuesday night, 11-6.
Wednesday night’s first pitch is at 7:20 p.m. EST inside Truist Park in Atlanta, GA. The Braves are favored (-150) in the matchup, and the over/under total is at 9.5 runs.
Nationals End Five-Game Skid
Washington ended a five-game losing skid with its five-run victory over the Braves. The Nationals also stopped a five-game losing streak against Atlanta as well. Washington sits at the bottom of the NL East standings, six games behind first place.
Penciled in to start for the Nationals is veteran lefty Jon Lester (0-2, 4.91 ERA, 1.47 WHIP). The 37-year old has thrown 29.1 innings this season, allowing 16 earned runs on 33 hits with 22 strikeouts. Lester was effective in a short stint in his last start, firing four innings of one-run ball against the Milwaukee Brewers in a no-decision.
The Nationals are fifth in the majors in team batting average (.252) but rank in the bottom half of the league in runs per game (3.9). Situational hitting is one of the reasons the Nationals are having a tough first half of the season.
Shortstop Trea Turner continues to highlight why he is one of the top offensive players in the game. The 27-year old leads the Nationals in batting average (.311), home runs (10), runs batted in (27), runs scored (28), and stolen bases (12).
Braves Stumble, Look to Bounce Back
The Braves own a sparkling record against their divisional rivals this season, but it was Washington’s hitters having success against Atlanta’s pitching staff Tuesday night. It was the ninth game of the season, and the second in three contests, the Braves have surrendered ten or more runs. Atlanta is second in the division standings, 3.5 games out of first.
Atlanta counters with Drew Smyly (2-3, 5.95 ERA, 1.30 WHIP) on the mound. The lefty has conceded 28 runs over 42.1 innings, scattering 41 hits and striking out 37. Smyly performed well in May until his last start, where the southpaw was tagged for seven earned runs over 5.1 innings for his third loss.
Offensively, the Braves average 4.9 runs per game and hit .234 for as a team. Shortstop Dansby Swanson carries a ten-game hitting streak into Wednesday night’s tilt, the play at the plate over that time has brought his batting average up from .209 to .238. Outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. is a growing star for the Braves, hitting .294 with a team-high 17 home runs and 35 RBIs.
Two elite offenses face off against mediocre pitching, so expect this to be another high-scoring ball game much like Tuesday night. We wouldn’t be surprised to see one of the teams post a double-digit total by themselves. With neither pitcher giving us confidence in a side wager, give us the safe play here.
The Pick: Atlanta/Washington OVER 9.5 runs