Scherzer tosses complete game vs. Cubs
The Nationals are expected to hand the ball to right-handed ace Max Scherzer after he tossed his second complete game of the season at home against the Chicago Cubs last time out. Scherzer limited Chicago’s potent lineup to just three runs in nine innings of work, while striking out 11 Cubs’ batters and walking none on the night to earn the win. He comes in with a spectacular 17-6 overall record to go along with a 2.31 ERA in 30 starts this season. Scherzer has struck out 271 batters in 202 ⅔ innings of work, whiles sporting a 0.88 WHIP and limiting opposing hitters to a .183 batting average. He’s completed six innings or more in 28 of his 30 starts, while holding opponents to three earned runs or less in all but two of his outings this year.
Scherzer has made four starts against the Braves this season, going 2-1 with a sparkling 1.67 ERA in those outings. He went 6-3 with a 3.87 ERA in his previous 11 starts versus the Braves dating back to 2015. Scherzer’s last start against Atlanta came on August 7, when he tossed seven innings of one-run ball in a no-decision at Nationals Park. The current Braves’ roster is batting .234 in 308 career at-bats against the Nationals’ ace heading into Friday’s matchup.
Gausman looks to bounce back after worst outing with Braves
Atlanta will counter with newly-acquired right-hander Kevin Gausman, who is coming off of his shortest outing since being added by the Braves at the non-waiver trade deadline. Gausman surrendered four earned runs on seven hits in just 4 ⅔ innings of work in his last start against the Arizona Diamondbacks, marking the first time he had allowed more than three earned runs in seven starts with his new team. Still, Gausman is 4-2 with a 2.32 ERA since being acquired by the Braves at the beginning of August and he’s managed to lower his ERA by more than a half-run during that span. The Braves’ right-hander comes into the weekend with a 9-10 overall record to go along with a 3.89 ERA in 28 starts this season.
Gausman has only made one start against the Nationals this season. He limited Washington to just two earned runs on four hits in six innings of work as a member of the Orioles earlier this year and went 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA in his previous two outings against the Nationals dating back to 2015. According to Baseball Savant, the current Nationals’ roster is batting .245 in 69 plate appearances versus Gausman heading into this game.
- Braves are 5-0 in their last 5 overall.
- Braves are 36-16 in their last 52 vs. National League East.
- Nationals are 2-5 in their last 7 Friday games.
- Nationals are 1-5 in the last 6 meetings in Atlanta.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Scherzer has been about as steady as they come for the Nationals in 2018, but he still has only 17 wins in 30 starts this year. Meanwhile, Gausman has turned his season around since joining the Braves and he’s been a big reason why the team remains atop the NL East standings in mid-September. Opponents are hitting just .212 against Gausman since he came over to the Braves at the trade deadline. He’s won four of his last five decisions and has allowed three earned runs or less in seven of his last eight starts. There could be some value in taking the Braves here. Roll with Atlanta on the money line in this divisional matchup at SunTrust Park on Friday night.
Prediction: Pick: Atlanta Braves
Full-Game Total Pick
Scherzer has allowed more than three earned runs just two times in 30 starts this season and he has not allowed more than four earned runs in 2018. He’s 5-1 with a 2.12 ERA since the All-Star break and Gausman has been almost as good during that span, posting a 4-2 record and a 2.32 ERA since coming over to the Braves. Both pitchers have a penchant for going deep into games, so you have to like your chances with the under in this NL East battle in Atlanta on Friday night.
Full-Game Prop Bet
As good as Scherzer has been this season, he’s still shown a propensity to give up the long ball. He’s surrendered 21 home runs this season and 11 in his last 12 starts overall. Freddie Freeman has already taken the Nationals’ ace deep twice in his career and he’s got four multi-hit games in his last five contests. Freeman has just two home runs over the past 30 days, but he’s batting .344 with nine RBIs against the Nationals so far this season, so I’m going to roll with him hitting the first home run of this game on Friday night.
Prediction: Freddie Freeman to hit the first home run
First Five Innings Side Pick
Gausman has been one of the most underrated trade deadline acquisitions so far. He’s been everything that the Braves could ask for and more over the past month-and-a-half. The 27-year-old posted a 1.66 ERA over his first six starts with the team before losing control in his previous start against the Diamondbacks. Meanwhile, Scherzer has been a little more vulnerable as of late, giving up three earned runs in each of his last three outings.
Prediction: Atlanta Braves
First Five Innings Total Bet
These have been two of the hottest lineups over the past week, but I expect that to change in this matchup. Scherzer has not allowed more than four runs in any of his starts this season, while Gausman has allowed two earned runs or less in five of his last six trips to the mound. Make no mistake about it: runs are going to be hard to come by in this game. Take the under on the five-inning line in this divisional clash on Friday night.
First Five Innings Prop Prediction
Scherzer owns a 1.40 ERA in innings one through three so far this season. Gausman has been tough to score on at the start of games this season too. He owns a 3.86 ERA in the first inning and a 2.25 mark in the second frame coming into this game, so I’m leaning towards the under on first inning runs in this matchup at SunTrust Park.
Prediction: Under 1.5 First Inning Runs