MLB Picks 6/11 – Washington Nationals @ Atlanta Braves
The Washington Nationals (25-38) conclude a 3-game set on the road against the Atlanta Braves (40-24) this afternoon in a National League East showdown. Atlanta won the first two games of the series and has won 4 of 5 against Washington this season. Atlanta enters this contest on a 7-game winning streak, while Washington has lost 6 straight games. Today’s starters are Trevor Williams (2-4, 4.15 ERA) for Washington and undefeated Bryce Elder (4-0, 2.26 ERA in 12 starts) for Atlanta.
Atlanta is 36-12 against Washington since September 2020. Washington has been outscored 40-18 during their 6-game losing streak.
Moneyline: Washington +225, Atlanta -275
Run Line: Washington +1.5 (+118), Atlanta -1.5(-142)
Run Total: over 10 (even) under 10 (-122)
Over the previous decade, the Washington Nationals were one of the better franchises in baseball making five postseason appearances and winning the World Series in 2019. After winning the World Series, the franchise has gone into a total rebuild as management elected not to keep stars like Trea Turner, Matt Scherzer, Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon. In 2020, “Mr. National” Ryan Zimmerman retired after playing his entire 16-year career with the Nationals. The Nationals drafted Zimmerman fourth overall in 2005, he then played for them that same year, which was Washington’s inaugural season.
Washington has spent the last three seasons rebuilding the franchise with young and/or unheralded players. They’ve had three straight losing seasons since winning the World Series in 2019 and were a major-league worst 55-107 last season. Washington entered the season with low expectations and were pretty competitive until this recent stretch where they’ve dropped six in a row.
Washington first baseman/designated hitter Joey Meneses .308 batting average and 31 RBI lead the team, along with 2 homers. The 31-year-old has quite a backstory as he made his major-league debut a year ago at age 30 after spending 11 seasons in the minors. Meneses is currently on a 17-game on-base streak, which is the longest active streak in MLB.
Right fielder Lane Thomas leads the team with 9 homers, he’s also hitting .284 with 30 RBI. Third baseman Jeimer Candelario is hitting .250 with 7 homers and 28 RBI. Menenses, Thomas and Candelario were expected to be stopgap options until Washington could develop younger players but they’ve ended up providing steady offensive production for Washington.
The Atlanta Braves have won 7 straight games and appear to be running away with the National League East as they sit 4.5 games ahead of the surprising second place Miami Marlins and are 9 games clear of disappointing Philadelphia and the New York Mets. Both Philadelphia and New York were expected to contend for the National League East crown again this year but find themselves under .500.
Atlanta may possess the deepest offensive lineup in baseball as they rank among top 5 in batting average, home runs and runs batted in. 25-year-old NL MVP candidate Ronald Acuna Jr. has regained his superstar form after a July 2021 torn ACL limited his production last season. Acuna is hitting .333 with 13 homers, 37 RBI and 28 stolen bases. Acuna went 3-for-4 with a home run and 3 RBI in yesterday’s 6-4 win over Washington.
Second baseman Ozzie Albies (.253, 14HR 42RBI), first baseman Matt Olson (.227, 17 HR 43 RBI) and catcher Sean Murphy (.288, 12 HR 42 RBI) are also having tremendous seasons for Atlanta.
Atlanta has an undefeated pitcher starting today, they’ve won 7 straight and have owned Washington for about 3 years now, take Atlanta on the run line!
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