Game of the Day: Braves at Nationals

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Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals
(-180,
7)

Stephen Strasburg has spent the past six weeks re-establishing
himself as one of the National League’s top pitchers, and the
Washington Nationals’ right-hander looks for his fourth
consecutive victory Wednesday as the NL East leaders host the
Atlanta Braves. Strasburg has allowed one or zero runs in six
of his past eight outings, helping propel Washington’s
second-half surge. The Nationals have taken the first two games
of the series from Atlanta and lead the Braves by nine games in
the East.

Atlanta’s hopes of repeating as division champions have all but
evaporated, as the Braves have dropped seven of 10 and sit 1 ½
games behind Pittsburgh for the NL’s second wild card. Atlanta
first baseman Freddie Freeman has three homers in 22 career
at-bats against Strasburg, and is 29-for-59 against Washington
pitching this season. Justin Upton hit a two-run blast in
Tuesday’s 6-4 loss, his first homer and first two RBIs this
month after blasting seven homers with 28 RBIs in August.

TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, SportSouth
(Atlanta), MASN2 (Washington)

LINE HISTORY:
Online book
SportsInteraction
opened the Nats as -210 faves, but are
now -195. The total has held at 7.

INJURY REPORT: Braves – 2B Tommy La Strella
(Questionable, migraine), C Evan Gattis (Doubtful, throat).
Nationals – SS Ian Desmond (Questionable, back).

COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Braves (-166),
Nationals (-195)

WEATHER REPORT:
Partly cloudy skies with temperatures
in the low-70s. Wind will blow in from centerfield at 9
mph.

WHAT CAPPERS SAY:
“This is usually the time of year
when the Braves turn on the after-burners, but that certainly
hasn’?t been the case so far in 2014. The best team in the N.L.
East is generally deserving of a spot in the top five, and that
holds true as we enter the second week of September.”
Covers
Expert Sean Murphy
.

WAG WAR: Blast from the past with former
Braves’ reliever John Rocker’s girlfriend Julie McGee and Gio
Gonzalez’s girlfriend Berenice Lea Moures.

PITCHING MATCHUP: Braves RH Aaron Harang
(10-10, 3.87 ERA) vs. Nationals RH Stephen Strasburg (11-10,
3.43)

Harang gave the Braves an outstanding first four months, but
has struggled mightily since mid-August while going 1-4 with a
6.91 ERA and a .350 opponents batting average in his past five
stars. The 36-year-old lasted just 3 2/3 innings Friday at
Miami, giving up six runs on 10 hits. Harang, who gave up one
run on seven hits over seven innings against Washington on Aug.
9, is 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Nationals
in 2014.

Strasburg gave up seven runs in five innings to the Braves on
Aug. 8 and five runs to San Francisco in four innings on Aug.
24, but has allowed only four earned runs in the other 42 2/3
innings pitched since July 29. He got a no-decision Friday
against Philadelphia despite giving up one run on four hits in
six innings, and sports a 0.92 WHIP in his past eight outings.
Strasburg, who leads the NL with 215 strikeouts, is 3-6 with a
4.62 ERA lifetime against Atlanta.

TWEET BEAT:

TRENDS:

* Over is 4-0 in Strasburg’s last four starts vs. Braves.
* Under is 5-2 in the last seven meetings.
* Under is 4-0 in umpire Marty Foster’s last four games behind
home plate.
* Braves are 1-9 in Harang’s last 10 starts.

COVERS CONSENSUS: According to Covers
Consensus, 61.91 percent of wagers are backing the Nationals.

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