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MLB Preview: Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals

Two teams eyeing postseason out of the National League East will get together on Tuesday for the middle game of a big series. The Atlanta Braves will make the trip to the nation’s capital to take on the Washington Nationals. Atlanta comes into the series 1.5 games behind Pittsburgh, and tied with Milwaukee for the final wildcard in the National League. The Braves are 74-70, and  8 games behind Washington in the division. The Nationals on the other hand are 8 games ahead, and hold a 1.5 game lead on Los Angeles for the overall top spot in the National League. Washington is a National League best 45-27 when playing at home this season. Atlanta has struggled on the road in 2014; winning just 34 of 73 games.

Jordan Zimmerman will take the mound for Washington. The 28 year old righthander has made 28 starts and holds a 10-5 record. Zimmerman has not lost since July 11th when he was beat by the Phillies. In his last five starts, the righthander has thrown 33.2 innings, allowed 27 hits and just 9 earned runs. The Nationals offense has picked it up as of late; despite just scoring 2 runs in the win on Monday night. Washington’s top offensive threat has been Ian Desmond, with 82 runs batted in, as well as Denard Span’s .301 batting average. Washington has scored 604 runs on the season; which ranks them 8th in all of baseball. The team is batting .252, which ranks them 17th in MLB.

The Atlanta Braves will send Ervin Santana to the mound. Santana has been sharp for the Braves this season; winning 14 of 21 decisions. The 31 year old right hander won his last start; throwing 6 innings, allowing 7 hits and 4 runs over the Phillies. On the season, Santana has struck out 159 batters, and walked just 53 on the season. Atlanta’s offense ranks 29th in all of Major League Baseball with just 528. Justin Upton is the leading power producer for Atlanta; blasting 26 runs and driving in 91 runs. Atlanta is without their catcher Evan Gattis, who is day to day with a nagging injury.

This is a really solid pitching matchup, and also a game that the Atlanta Braves need to win. Atlanta needs all the wins they can get, despite the division being pretty much over, they still need to shoot for the wildcard. Atlanta is the underdog in this game, and that comes as no surprise, on the road. Washington is -135 over the Braves, who are +125. We are going to take the Atlanta Braves as the road underdog in this game. We expect a big start out of Santana, and the Atlanta offense comes to life a little bit. Bet the Atlanta Braves +125 over Washington Nationals on Tuesday.

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