MLB Picks: Braves vs. Nationals Series Coverage

Darin Zank

Thursday, June 19, 2014 12:20 PM GMT

Thursday, Jun. 19, 2014 12:20 PM GMT

Washington re-took the lead in the NL East with a 3-0 victory in Game 3 of this series Saturday afternoon. So the Nats will try to split this series, and we'll try to offer another winning free MLB pick, when the teams meet for the finale of this four-game set Sunday afternoon (1:35 pm ET).

 

22nd June
Braves vs. Nationals Game 4

By: Ron Patrick

 

Sunday's Line
In the very early betting Washington and Tanner Roark were favored by around -140 over Atlanta and Ervin Santana, with a total of seven runs. The Nats could also be bet at around +165 giving the run and a half on the run line.

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Saturday Re-Hash
Washington got eight shut-out innings from starter Doug Fister and three hits and two RBI from a hot Anthony Rendon for a 3-0 victory. The Nationals won as -115 post-time favorites on Saturday's MLB betting board, and the game, to our delight, stayed 'under' its total of seven runs. 

The victory was just Washington's second in nine games against Atlanta this year.


Sunday's Starters
Roark (6-4, 2.85) is nine-for-14 on quality starts this season, and has really only had a couple of poor outings. Last time out he held Houston to one run through five innings, and over his last four starts he's given up just four runs through 26 innings. 

On the season Roark has allowed fewer hits, 77, than innings pitched, 88, while compiling a K/BB ratio of better than 3/1 (69/20). Washington is 7-7 in Roark's starts, with the totals going 6-6.

Roark has two career starts against the Braves; last September he held them scoreless on two hits through seven innings of a 4-0 Nats win, but in April he gave up five runs in 4 2/3 innings of a 7-6 Nats loss.

Santana (5-4, 4.12), by our tough standards, is five-for-13 on quality starts, but just one for his last seven. Most recently he gave up three ER in six innings against Philly, and just before that he got roughed up for six runs in 6 1/3 innings against Colorado. 

For the season Santana has allowed 83 hits in 83 innings, walked 26 and struck out 72. Atlanta is 6-7 in Santana's starts, with the totals skewing toward the 'overs' by an 8-3 margin.

Santana, pitching for Kansas City, started once against Washington last year, giving up four runs and 11 hits, including three homers, in 6 2/3 innings of a 6-4 Royals victory.


Free Pick for Sunday
We give Washington the advantage in the pitching match-up, so we're leaning toward the home team salvaging the split. And since we like to take chances we'll go with the Nats on the run line, getting +167 at 5Dimes, for our free pick on Sunday's contest.

 

21st June
Braves vs. Nationals Game 3

By: Ron Patrick

 

Saturday's Line
As of early Saturday morning Washington and Doug Fister were favored by around -130 over Atlanta and Julio Teheran, with a total of seven runs.

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Friday Re-Hash
Atlanta led 4-2 going into the bottom of the ninth Friday night, but Washington's Anthony Rendon popped a two-out, two-run homer off Braves closer Craig Kimbrel to send the game to overtime. But Atlanta then scrounged up a couple of runs in the 13th and the bullpen did the rest for a 6-4 victory.

The Braves won as +145 dogs on Friday's betting line, and the game, which sat at six runs with one out to go, played 'over' its total of seven.


Saturday's Starters
Fister (5-2, 3.08) is five-for-eight on quality starts this season, which for him started a month late as he dealt with a sore back. But since entering the rotation he's been very good. Last time out Fister gave up four runs in six innings against St. Louis, but over his six starts previous to that he had allowed just eight runs through 39 innings.

On the season Fister has thrown 50 innings, allowing 49 hits, walking just five and striking out 33.  Washington is 6-2 in Fister's starts, with the totals going 3-4.

Fister, pitching for Detroit, started once against Atlanta last year, allowing three runs in seven innings of an 8-3 Tigers victory.

Teheran (6-4, 2.31) is 13-for-15 on quality starts, among the best in the business. And he showed some nice resilience last time out, recovering from a poor performance against the Rockies to hold Philly to one run and four hits through eight innings last Monday night.

On the season Teheran has allowed just 77 hits in 105 innings, while compiling a K/BB ratio of 4/1 (84/21). Atlanta is 10-5 in Teheran's starts, with the totals skewing toward the 'unders' by a 10-4 margin.

Since the beginning of last season Teheran has started seven times against Washington, giving up 14 ER and 45 hits in 43 innings; Atlanta won six of those seven games, with the totals going 3-4.


Free Pick for Saturday
This is a great pitching match-up, and should result in a low-scoring affair. So while we're not sure who's going to win this game, we'll go with the 'under' seven runs, at the +110 offered at Pinnacle, for today's free MLB pick.

 

20th June
Braves vs. Nationals Game 2

By: Ron Patrick

 

Friday's Line
As of Friday morning Washington and Stephen Strasburg were chalked at around -170 over Atlanta and Mike Minor, with a total of seven runs. The Nats were also available at around +140 on the run line.


Thursday Re-Hash
The Braves got six shutout innings from starter Gavin Floyd before he had to leave the game with a broken bone in his elbow (ouch). But three relievers did the rest, closing out a 3-0 victory.

Atlanta won as a +130 underdog on Thursday's MLB betting board, and the game stayed 'under' its total of seven runs.

We backed Washington with our free pick for Thursday, but the Nats bats let us down, garnering just three hits all night.

The Braves have now won 23 of the last 30 meetings in this series.

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Friday's Starters
Strasburg (6-5, 3.06), by our strict standards, is 11-for-13 on quality starts this season, and just had a run of 10 in row broken when he allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings against St. Louis last Saturday. In his three starts previous to that he had given up just three ER 19 innings.

On the season Strasburg has allowed 94 hits in 94 innings, walked 20 and whiffed 113. Washington is 9-6 in Strasburg's starts, with the totals going 10-5, mostly thanks to some pretty good run support. 

Since the beginning of last season Strasburg has started six times against Atlanta, giving up 10 ER through 26 1/3 innings; the Nats won just two of those six games.

Minor (2-4, 4.42) is five-for-11 on quality starts, but 0 for his last two. Last time out he gave up three runs and 11 hits in five innings against Angels, and just before that he got knocked around for eight runs and 11 hits in four innings by Colorado.

So far this season, through 53 innings, Minor has allowed 64 hits, walked 16 and struck out 49. Atlanta is only 4-5 in Minor's starts, with the totals going 4-5.

Minor started three times against Washington last year, allowing nine runs in 13 2/3 innings; the Braves lost two of those three games.


Free Pick for Friday
We missed our free pick for Thursday with Washington, but we're leaning that way again today. But that price is a bit much. So we'll take a chance and go with the Nationals on the run line, getting +145 at 5Dimes, for our free pick on Friday's game.

 

19th June
Braves vs. Nationals Game 1

By: Ron Patrick

 

Thursday's Betting Line
As of Thursday AM Washington and Jordan Zimmerman were chalked at around -145 over Atlanta and Gavin Floyd, with a total of 7.5 runs. The Nats could also be found at around +150 giving the run and a half on the run line.


Series Set-Up
Washington just swept a quick two-game series from Houston, winning both games by scores of 6-5. The Nationals have won five of their last six series and 12 of their last 18 games.

Atlanta, on the other hand, just got swept three games at home by Philadelphia, losing Wednesday 10-5. The Braves have won just one of their last five series, going 5-10 in the process.

So at 37-33 Washington now leads the NL East by a game and a half over both Atlanta and Miami.

The Braves have taken five of six games from the Nats this season, with four of those games playing 'over' the totals.


Thursday's Starters
Zimmerman (5-3, 2.98), by our tough standards, is only six-for-14 on quality starts this season, but three for his last three. Last time out he held St. Louis to one run through eight innings, and over his last three starts he's allowed just that one run through 25 innings.

On the season Big Z has permitted 84 hits in 85 innings, walking 15 while whiffing 71. Washington is  8-6 in Zimmerman's starts, with the totals going 5-6.

Zimmerman has started three times against Atlanta since the beginning of last year, giving up three runs in 17 innings; the Nats lost two of those games, and two played 'under' the totals.

Floyd (1-2, 2.98) is three-for-eight on quality starts this year, but he's really only had one or two poor outings. Last time out he gave up four runs in 6 1/3 innings against the Angels, and over his last three starts he's given up eight ER in 18 innings.

For the season Floyd has allowed 53 hits in 48 innings, walked 12 and struck out 39. The Braves are 4-4 in Floyd's starts, with the totals leaning toward the 'unders' 5-3.

Floyd, pitching for the White Sox, started once against Washington last year, giving up five runs in 5 1/3 innings of a 5-2 Chicago loss.

In the battle of the bullpens for this series Washington ranks No. 1 with a 2.54 ERA, going 15/20 on save conversions, while Atlanta's pen has struggled a bit lately, and now ranks 14th with a 3.55 ERA while going 24/32 on save chances.


With the Sticks
Offensively challenged Atlanta ranks 26th in team OBP at .306 and 28th in scoring at 3.6 runs per game. Washington ranks 15th in OBP at .317 and 16th in scoring at 4.1 RPG.


 Braves-Nats Betting Trends
Atlanta has trended toward the 'unders' this season by a 39-28 margin. Washington has leaned toward the 'overs' 34-29. The totals have gone 17-15 in games played at Nationals Park this year.


 Injury Update
Atlanta OF Justin Upton (14 HR) missed Wednesday's game while dealing with dizziness, and his status for this series is uncertain. Meanwhile, Washington is still playing without OF Bryce Harper, who's still recovering after having surgery on his thumb.


Free Pick for Thursday
Atlanta has held the upper hand in this rivalry over recent seasons, but the time looks about right for Washington to turn that trend around. So we'll go with the Nationals, at the -141 offered at Pinnacle, for our free MLB pick on Game 1.

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