#901 Atlanta Bravesvs.#902 Washington Nationals
Written by David Hess
Atlanta Braves (64-78 SU, 74-68 RL, 74-63-5 O/U) vs Washington Nationals (88-55 SU, 70-73 RL, 63-70-10 O/U)
When: 7:05 PM EDT, Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Where: Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.
Lines: Washington -340/ Atlanta +300
Major League Baseball action on Wednesday evening a couple of teams from the National League East will square off as the Atlanta Braves grapple with the Washington Nationals in game two of their three-game set from Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. Pitching Probables: The Braves will trot out Luiz Gohara (0-1, 13.50 ERA) in this one and he will be opposed by Max Scherzer (14-9, 2.32 ERA).
The Atlanta Braves have nothing to play for the rest of the year, except to maybe build some momentum and confidences for next year. They just took three of four games from the Marlins and have won four of their last five games overall. The offense has been in the lower 3rd of the league for much of the year, but it has been far better of late as they have averaged 6.11 rpg over their last nine games. If their offense keeps playing well, then that is a huge positive that they can take into the offseason. The pitching has been bad all year and even worse of late as they have a very high 6.30 ERA over their last 10 games. The pitching is an area that they really must address in the off season if they hope to make a push for a playoff spot. They have Julio Teheran and Mike Foltynewicz, but not much else and their pen ranks 29th in the league in ERA at 4.70. The Braves have gone 31-39 on the road for the year and they have averaged 4.81 rpg and have allowed 4.99 rpg in those games. Taking the hill for the Braves in this one will be Luiz Gohara and he is off his first career start and it wasn’t a good one as he lost 12-8 to the Rangers. He allowed six ER on four hits and four walks in just 4.0 innings of work. Gohara was 7-4 with a 2.62 ERA in 26 games (25 starts) combined between Florida (A), Mississippi (AA) and Gwinnett (AAA) this year.
Atlanta has been a bit below average on offense this year so far as they come in ranked 18th in the league in scoring, putting up 4.63 rpg, while also ranking 4th in hitting at .265 and 28th in homers with 147. On the mound, they have been poor so far as they come in ranked 27th in the league in ERA at 4.85 while also ranking 25th in WHIP at 1.43.
It looked like it was an impossible goal for the Nationals a month ago, but they have been hot of late and the Dodgers have lost 11 in a row and 16 of their last 17, so now Washington has moved to within just four games of gaining homefield advantage through the playoffs. What has happened to the Dodgers is shocking, but it may very well benefit the Nationals in the end. Washington just took three of four from the Phillies and have now gone 6-1 in their last seven games and 22-10 in their last 32. They have been very consistent of late and that is what a team is looking for as they head to the postseason. The Nationals have strong starting pitching, and improved bullpen and a very good offense, plus they will be getting back Bryce Harper in time for the postseason. Even if they don’t grab homefield advantage, they still have an excellent shot at getting the World Series as the Dodgers are not the invincible powerhouse we thought they were. Washington has gone 43-28 at home and have averaged 5.42 rpg and have allowed 4.17 rpg in those games. Toeing the slab for the Nationals will be Max Scherzer and he has gone 14-5 with a 2.32 ERA in 27 starts on the year, including 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in his last three starts and 6-3 with a 2.87 ERA in 13 starts here at home. Scherzer has gone 21-12 with a 3.02 ERA in 51 career starts during Sept/ Oct and he is 19-13 with a 2.97 ERA in 44 career starts here at Nationals Park, while against the Braves in his career he is 6-4 with a 3.59 ERA in 15 games (13 starts).
Washington has been a very good offensive team this year so far as they come in ranked 3rd in the league in scoring, putting up 5.23 rpg, while also ranking 3rd in hitting at .269 and 12th in homers with 196. On the mound, they have been solid so far this year as they come in ranked 6th in the league in ERA at 3.84, while also ranking 4th in WHIP at 1.24.
The Nationals are playing well at the moment and they actually have a shot at taking away homefield from the Dodgers. The Nats have been average against the Braves this year as they have gone just 7-6 against them, but can Atlanta really take down Max Scherzer at home with a rookie pitching, who was hit hard in his first career start? I think not. Washington has gone 10-3 in Scherzer’s home starts this year and they have outscored their foes by 2.31 rpg in those games. He is also 11-1 at night with a 2.45 ERA and the Nats have outscored their foes by 2.15 rpg in his night starts. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 2.94 ERA in his last five starts against the fish and I look for him to have another strong outing here, while his offense does the rest against a rookie pitcher.
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