Washington Nationals (91-59; 65-75-10 O/U) vs. Atlanta Braves (67-82; 76-68-5 O/U)
MLB: Thursday, September 21, 2017 at 7:35pm EST
Line: Washington -136/Atlanta +126
The Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves will conclude a three-game NL East series Thursday evening from SunTrust Park. The Nationals will give the call to 30-year old right-hander Tanner Roark, and the Braves will send 42-year old right-hander R.A. Dickey to the hill. The Braves lead the season series 9-8.
Roark Aims for Third Straight Victory
Tanner Roark will get the nod for the 30th time of the season, targeting his third straight win. Roark notched the Quality Start last time out, holding the Braves to only two runs over six innings, and earned the win. The veteran right-hander is having a terrific second half and now features a 4.43 ERA and 1.30 WHIP accompanied with a 13-9 record in 168.2 innings pitched. The Braves have had success against him this season as he has allowed 12 runs in 16 innings, however, he owns a 6-2 record with a 2.80 ERA in 90 career innings against the rivals. Freddie Freeman is 11 for 35 against Roark, which Ender Inciarte is 8 for 19 with four RBI’s, and Nick Markakis is 6 for 22 with four RBI’s. Ryan Zimmerman has feasted on the Braves pitching this season, posting a sizzling .379 average with four homers and 13 RBI’s. The 32-year old first baseman has been consistent all season, currently hitting .304 with 33 home runs and 101 RBI’s. Zimmermann has collected six RBI’s in his last two games.
The Nationals dangerous lineup is now averaging 5.12 runs per game, good for third in the Majors, and feature a .268 team batting average. The Washington pitching possesses a 3.86 team ERA, ranking them sixth in the Major Leagues.
Dickey Hit-Hard in Third Straight Start
R.A. Dickey will get the call for the 30th time of the season, looking to get back on track after three rough outings. Dickey allowed five runs in five innings to the Mets in his previous start and was charged with the loss to drop his record to 9-10. The veteran knuckleballer has been hit hard in three consecutive starts, bringing his ERA to 4.41 along with a 1.43 WHIP in 175.1 innings of work. The Nationals have had no problem scoring runs against Dickey this year, recording 16 runs in 24.1 innings this season, and he now sits at 4-9 with a 4.17 ERA in 112.1 career innings against the Nats. Ozzie Albies is looking good at the plate, driving in eight runs over his last 11 games. The 20-year old rookie second baseman was brought up last month and is off to a promising start, hitting .275 with four home runs and 21 RBI’s, and is ranked as the Braves #2 prospect. Albies has fared well against the Nationals, going 5 for 16 with four RBI’s.
The Braves are now averaging 4.59 runs per game, ranking them 20th overall, and are hitting .264 as a team. The Atlanta pitching owns a weak 4.78 team ERA, placing them down at 25th in the Majors.
The Washington Nationals are:
- 5-0 in their last 5 road games against a team with a losing record.
- 6-1 in their last 7 Thursday games.
- 8-3 in Roark’s last 11 starts.
The Atlanta Braves are:
- 1-4 in Dickey’s last 5 home starts.
- 1-4 in their last 5 games overall.
- 16-38 in their last 54 games against the Nationals.
I am taking the Nationals in this contest. Dickey is struggling right now, conceding 16 earned runs over his last three starts (14.1 innings), and the Nationals have scored 16 runs in 24.1 innings against him this season. Furthermore, Roark has been very steady, posting a solid 3.24 ERA over his last eight starts, and he just defeated the Braves by holding them to only two runs in six innings in his previous start, plus he features a 2.80 career ERA against Atlanta.