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MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Nationals vs. Braves: Can Atlanta’s Bats to Spoil Strasburg’s Start? (Tuesday, June 1)

MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Nationals vs. Braves: Can Atlanta’s Bats to Spoil Strasburg’s Start? (Tuesday, June 1) article feature image

Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. (13).

  • The Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves face off for Game 2 of their NL East regular-season series on Tuesday at 7:20 p.m. ET.
  • The Nationals' Stephen Strasburg hopes to keep the good times rolling following his return from the IL, but Atlanta's batting lineup will be a perilous test.
  • Below, MLB betting analyst Mike Vitanza breaks down the matchup, including updated odds, plus his picks and predictions for Tuesday's Nationals vs. Braves game.

Nationals vs. Braves Odds

Nationals Odds+110
Braves Odds-135
Time7:20 p.m. ET
Odds as of Tuesday morning and via BetMGM.

The Atlanta Braves won the first game of their National League East series against the Washington Nationals on Monday by the score of 5-3.

The Braves were paced offensively by Ronald Acuna Jr, who hit his 16th home run of the season. Acuna Jr. is now tied him for the Major League lead in that category. He and William Contreras each had multi-hit games that included runs batted in, while Dansby Swanson also added an RBI.

The Nationals, meanwhile, managed seven hits in the loss, including a two-run home run from Josh Bell in the fourth inning. Washington supplied little other offense to speak of, save for starting pitcher Joe Ross’ token RBI.

With a seemingly healthy Stephen Strasburg on the mound, the Nationals will look to even the series at 1-1 on Tuesday evening. However, the Braves’ powerful bats will have something to say about that.

Washington Nationals

Strasburg will make just his fifth start of the season when he takes the mound for the Nationals on Tuesday. His season-long numbers aren’t great (5.62 FIP; allowing 1.8 HR/9), but Strasburg has been solid in his two starts since returning from the IL. Since his May 21 start against the Orioles, Strasburg has compiled a 2.61 ERA and stuck out nine batters over 10 1/3 innings.

That short-term success notwithstanding, his 4.37 FIP during those two starts is nearly two runs higher than his ERA — a strong indicator that he’s been considerably lucky. Strasburg has also allowed an alarmingly high 47.3% Hard Hit rate (per Statcast) and a 10.9% Barrel Percentage. To highlight just how bad those numbers are for Strasburg, his career averages in those categories are 34.5% and 5.6%, respectively.

The matchup on Tuesday night won’t make things much easier. He’ll take on a Braves team that has collectively hit to a.324 wOBA against right-handed pitching — one of the best marks in MLB.

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Atlanta Braves

On the other side, starting pitcher Max Fried will get the nod for the Braves. The southpaw has been extremely effective over his last four starts, compiling a 2-1 record, 1.80 ERA, 3.11 FIP and allowing just 0.4 HR/9 over that span.

Fried’s 4.63 ERA is not particularly impressive, but his 4.11 FIP indicates some positive regression should be coming his way. He also had a two-start stint that is heavily skewing those season-long numbers. In six contiguous innings spanning Fried’s April 7 and April 13 starting appearance, he allowed a staggering 12 earned runs.

It’s worth noting that one of those starts was against the Nationals, who piled up five earned runs in two innings against Fried. Nonetheless, Fried faced Washington again on May 5, allowing just one earned run over five innings while striking out six batters.

Moreover, Fried has also reliably delivered deep performances, pitching at least six innings in each of his three starts since May 12.

Once Fried exits, he will turn things over to a Braves bullpen that has been solid overall, collectively pitching to a 4.24 FIP over 176 1/3 innings. If Fried can give Atlanta six innings as he’s delivered in his last three starts, then the Braves bullpen has the skill to close the door in this one.

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Nationals-Braves Pick

While Strasburg certainly carries the name recognition in this matchup, the Braves are the play on Tuesday night.

Despite his recent run of success, Strasburg’s advanced numbers indicate that he has been extremely lucky to have limited opponents the way he has. Strasburg also has the misfortune of facing the Braves’ batting lineup — one of MLB’s best against right-handed pitching.

I’m betting on the Braves to take advantage of Strasburg while he is still trying to piece back together what he’s had in previous seasons. I’m comfortable at the current moneyline (-135 at BetMGM) and would bet it up to -145.

Pick: Braves (-135)

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