Sunday Night Baseball: Nationals at Braves

May 26, 2012 |
Sunday Night Baseball: Nationals at Braves
Brandon Beachy has been surprising for the Braves this spring.
Brandon Beachy has been surprising for the Braves this spring.
Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves (-140, 6.5)

Sunday Night Baseball features the Nationals and the Braves, with host Atlanta trying to stay close to Washington atop the National League East. The Nats won 8-4 Saturday after taking the series opener 7-4, marking the first time Washington has scored seven or more runs in consecutive games this year.


In the past, the Nationals were never a team considered for ESPN's programming, but this up-and-coming team is now making their second Sunday night appearance on the network this month. 

They lost the earlier showing against the Phillies, 9-3 as +100 home underdogs, on May 6. The big news from that game was when Cole Hamels beaned Bryce Harper in the first inning. Harper would later steal home, becoming only the second player in Nationals' franchise history to do so.


Atlanta's starter Brandon Beachy has been surprisingly tough for the Braves. He's 5-2 with a 1.77 ERA, giving up just 40 hits in 61 innings. The righty has won two of his last three starts, sporting a 2.05 ERA in that span. 

Beachy faced the Nationals twice last season in Washington, posting nearly identical stat lines. He went 11 total innings giving up eight runs and 12 hits, striking out 13 while walking only five. This will be only his fourth home start of the season.


Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez is no slouch either. He's 6-1 with a 1.98 ERA, allowing just 32 hits in 54.2 innings. Outside of a disastrous first start against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, the former Oakland starter has been great on the road. He allowed just four earned runs in four starts against San Diego, L.A., Cincinnati, and Philadelphia. It appears Gonzalez has begun to conquer his control issues, walking four or more batters in a game just twice this season.


Danny Espinosa 3-for-7 vs. Beachy
Ryan Zimmerman 4-for-6 vs. Beachy
Jack Wilson 2-for-12 vs. Gonzalez (Only Atlanta hitter who has faced him)


*Washington is 1-5 in their last six Sunday games
*Washington is 4-0 in Gonzalez's last four starts
*Atlanta is 4-0 in their last four Sunday games
*The over is 3-0-1 in Beachy's last four Sunday starts

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