May 25, 2012

Nationals and Braves set to battle it out for first-place in the NL East

MLB Weekend Series Preview- Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves

First place in the NL East will be on the line this weekend when the Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves square-off in a three-game holiday weekend series with Game 1 slated for Friday night

Overview

Washington took two of three from Philadelphia this week to win its first series since the first week of May, but still holds a half game lead over Atlanta in the division. The Nationals are 26-18 overall with a 15-8 record at home and an 11-10 record on the road.

Atlanta has lost three straight to Cincinnati this week heading into Thursday’s series finale to fall to 26-19 on the year and 4-6 in its last 10 games. The Braves are 16-12 on the road and 10-7 at home. The total has stayed ‘under’ in six of their last seven games.

Daily Starters

Friday, May 25

Ross Detwiler vs. Tim Hudson

Detwiler is 3-3 with a 3.56 ERA in eight starts this season, but has now given-up 10 earned runs on 16 hits in his last two outings after giving-up just eight earned runs in his previous six starts. The left-hander is 1-0 against the Braves with a 3.26 ERA in just over 19 innings pitched.

Hudson held Tampa scoreless through 7.2 innings last Sunday while giving-up just four hits. The right-hander is now 3-1 on the year with a 3.03 ERA. He is 14-3 against the Nationals with an ERA of 2.05.

Saturday, May 26

Stephen Strasburg vs. Mike Minor

The Nationals’ ace suffered some stiffness in his pitching arm in his last outing, but is still expected to make the start on Saturday. The right-hander is 4-1 this season in nine previous outings with an ERA of 2.21 and a 1.02 WHIP. Strasburg is 0-2 against Atlanta with a 4.35 ERA.

Minor has been plagued by the long ball as of late; giving-up multiple home runs in four of his last five starts. The left-hander is 2-4 with a 6.96 ERA in nine starts after giving-up four or more earned runs in six starts. He is 1-2 against the Nationals with a 4.02 ERA.

Sunday, May 27

Gio Gonzalez vs. Brandon Beachy

Gonzalez pitched six scoreless innings against Philadelphia his last time out to raise his record on the year to 6-1 in nine starts. The left-hander has a 1.98 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP heading into this game.

Beachy is 5-2 on the year with an ERA of 1.77 in nine starts. He was tagged for three home runs in his last outing against Cincinnati to suffer his first loss since early April. The right-hander is 1-1 against Washington with a 5.63 ERA.

Betting Trends

The Nationals are 5-2 in their last seven games on the road and 21-7 in their last 28 games in the division. The total has gone ‘over’ in eight of their last 11 games.

The Braves are 8-18 in the first game of their last 26 series and 4-12 in their last 16 games against the NL East. The total has stayed ‘under’ in their last five games against a team with a winning record.

Head-to-head, Washington is 2-5 in its last seven games in Atlanta and the total has gone ‘over’ in six of the last meetings there. This is the first meeting this season, but they have evenly split the last 10 games with Atlanta winning three of four at home.

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Dave Schwab

DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.

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