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Braves vs. Nationals MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Have Faith in Washington’s Lineup vs. Max Fried (Tuesday, June 14)

Braves vs. Nationals MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Have Faith in Washington’s Lineup vs. Max Fried (Tuesday, June 14) article feature image
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Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images

  • The Braves (-225 odds) put their 11-game win streak on the line vs. the Nationals on Tuesday.
  • Max Fried takes the bump for the Braves and will face off against Nationals' Stephen Strasburg.
  • D.J. James breaks down the matchup and offers up his best bet.

Braves vs. Nationals Odds

Braves Odds -255
Nationals Odds +215
Over/Under 9 (-105 / -115)
Time 7:05 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Max Fried and the Atlanta Braves will play in Washington against Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals.

In his first start of the season, Strasburg greatly struggled, allowing seven earned runs in 4 2/3 innings pitched. This was not vintage Strasburg whatsoever.

Even though the Braves are steaming hot — riddling off 11 straight wins as of Monday afternoon — they’ve had issues hitting against right-handers.

In the last two weeks, that has picked up. But over the last month, their team wRC+ against righties is 98. This is slightly below average and likely a more accurate reflection of their hitting capabilities with a right-hander on the mound.

The Nats have actually hammered left-handers. Yes, Fried is an ace and has only faltered once in his last two months of starts, but trust the top-half of this Washington batting order.

Without knowing which Strasburg will show up in this outing, take the Nats over on the team total.

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Will Fried Have Issues With Nats’ Lineup?

Fried owns a 2.64 ERA, which is elite; however, his xERA is 3.29. Regardless, some negative regression is in the cards.

One area he will excel at is not issuing free passes. Fried only has a 4.0% walk rate. In addition, his Average Exit Velocity against is only 87.0 mph. That said, his Hard Hit Rate is a touch below average at 38.7%, so this is an area the Nationals can exploit.

In the last month, Keibert Ruiz and Juan Soto have maintained a .500+ xwOBA off of southpaws. César Hernández is above .400, and Maikel Franco and Nelson Cruz are over the .340 mark. Lane Thomas is over .300, but has held an Average Exit Velocity of 89+ mph.

This is where the Nationals could excel. They know how to hit lefties, and even if they do not hit Fried hard, they can push a few runs across.

The Atlanta bullpen may have a 3.48 xFIP in the last month, but it’s down Collin McHugh now. The Braves have five members of the ‘pen over a 4.00 xFIP, as well.

There are enough arms for Washington to hit. A.J. Minter and Dylan Lee are also lefties, so if they throw in this game, look for the Nationals to hit them well.


Strasburg Not Pitching to His Ability

Strasburg barely pitched in 2020 and 2021 before getting injured. His first start this season is not a reflection of who he truly is as a pitcher, but there’s a reason to avoid him. He has not proven he can bounce back just yet, and who knows if he will.

Since the beginning of June, Atlanta has seven hitters with a .335+ xwOBA. Eddie Rosario is still on the injured list, but the Braves haven’t needed him during this winning streak. There are many hitters who are capable throughout their lineup.

The Nationals’ bullpen does not have the collective results the Braves do. The Nats own a bullpen xFIP of 4.22 in the last month — which is not horrible — but it ranks 19th in the MLB.

They also have one of the lowest strikeout rates in MLB during that time at 21.3%. Atlanta strikes out at the second-highest rate in baseball, so this negates a potential weakness in this matchup.

Braves-Nationals Pick

Atlanta is riding a winning streak, and given Strasburg’s inability to stay on the mound, it’s hard to take the Nationals on the moneyline.

The Braves do, however, have a few weaknesses in the bullpen and the Nationals have hit left-handed pitchers well.

Take the Nationals team total over at 4 (-125) to 4.5 (-110). Look for them to squeeze in some runs off of Fried and hit the over against the Atlanta bullpen late in the game.

Pick: Washington Nationals o4 (-125) | play to 4.5 (-110)

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