A tough stretch on the schedule continues this week for the Atlanta Braves who embark on a 10-day road trip that will take them coast-to-coast. Up first is a stop in the nation's capital for a huge 3-game series against the Washington Nationals.
The clash between the top two clubs in the NL East begins
Monday at Nationals
Park where the Braves
send Tim Hudson to the hill opposite Jordan Zimmermann. Washington
opened in the upper -120's, but had been bet up to -135 on the MLB odds board by
early Monday morning.
SBRodds showed an initial 7.5 run total that was priced two
bits to the UNDER. That number still
remains at a few online baseball betting sites, though 7 (OVER) can also be found.
The Braves hit the road on a bit of a downer after going
down in the final two games of their weekend series against the Los Angeles
Dodgers. That set was the commencement of
a crucial 10-game string for Atlanta who will go
to San Francisco
for four against the Giants this weekend. We will be following along all week as the Braves try to improve their
positioning in the National League playoff hunt, presently five games south of
the Nats in the division race and a 3-game gap at the top of the NL wild card
Bettors who have been following both starting pitchers are
going to have a tough decision to make in Game 1. Hudson missed
4-5 turns in Atlanta's
rotation following offseason back surgery, but has still managed to produce the
second-highest return in the majors with the Braves 12-4 and up 12.2 units when
the righthander is on the bump. Washington could be even
better than the 15-9 mark (+5.0 units) behind Zimmermann who leads the Senior
Circuit with a 2.38 ERA.
Those bettors placing their MLB picks on the Braves have really been raking it in the past six
weeks or so when Hudson
takes the mound. Atlanta
has won eight straight of his outings, the offense picking him up when Hudson suffered a couple
of rough assignments. The last team to
beat him was Washington
at Turner Field in early July. Two of
his four losses have come at the hands of the Nats who knocked him around in
both games (combined 12.2 IP, 12 ER).
Zimmermann is coming off the first loss on his personal
ledger since June 22. The Nationals are
8-2 in his last 10, and could easily be 10-0 with his ERA at 2.13 in the two
defeats. He has missed the Braves each
of the first four series between the clubs, a freak result in the
scheduling. Washington lost both of his 2011 outings
against the Braves after winning a game each with Zimmermann facing them in
2009 and 2010.
The Nats have been the top road warriors this season (41-23,
.640) but struggled at home until recently. Washington
has to be happy recently, however, opening this homestand by taking two of
three from the New York Mets and winning six of the last eight in DC. Tied for the second-most road triumphs (34)
and second-highest away win percentage (.607) are the Braves. They weren't
always that great at home earlier this season either, losing 11 of their first
21 in Atlanta and
including being swept by these Nationals.
has taken eight of the 12 played this season to increase its record to 47-37 in
the series overall since the start of the '08 campaign. Atlanta
has split the six played at Nationals
Park that has favored the
UNDER 4-2 on this season's slate.
That's where we begin this game in DC, this Braves-Nats
series and this week with Atlanta.
I like Hudson
in the opener using the old "third time's the charm" approach, and
hope Braves hitters can snap back after being blanked on Sunday. Atlanta
on a small dog line will be my play.
My pick: Braves