With the All-Star Break in the rear view mirror, the Atlanta Braves are back in action on Friday evening. In fitting fashion, the second “half” (note that the Braves have played more than half of their games) begins with a series in the nation’s capital against the Washington Nationals and right-hander Stephen Strasburg takes the ball for the visitors.
Strasburg’s relationship with the Braves has always been odd but, on the whole, he has been pretty good this season. The 30-year-old has a 3.46 ERA (3.58 FIP) in 13 outings and, beyond that, Strasburg is striking out 10.6 batters per nine innings while issuing only 2.1 walks during that same time frame.
In opposition, the Braves will send veteran right-hander Anibal Sanchez to the hill and it will be interesting to see what transpires. Sanchez, at the age of 34, has turned back the clock this season, posting a 2.60 ERA in 12 appearances (11 starts) and generally overachieving when compared to any rational expectation. Atlanta (obviously) hopes that his strong performance continues but this is a challenge against a rested Nationals lineup.
From a Las Vegas perspective, the Nationals currently project to enter the game as significant favorites (in the -160 range), which directly results from a perceived starting pitching advantage. As always, this is something to monitor for entertainment purposes only (wink, wink) but it is useful information.
Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest.
Time/Date: Friday, July 20, 7:05 pm ET
Location: Nationals Park
TV: Fox Sports South (Streaming: Fox Sports Go)
Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM, 106.7 FM Braves Radio Network