The Braves have won 13 straight at Nationals Park
The Braves have won 13 consecutive games at Nationals Park heading into Saturday and have a chance to extend that streak to 15 before the all-star break as they finish a four game series in Washington. Atlanta can secure the series victory with a win on Saturday as Cy Young candidate Max Fried takes the mound against another one of the Nationals’ veteran journeyman starters in Paolo Espino. Max’s last outing was not particularly sharp, as he never really seemed to have full command of his pitches, but he battled through for a solid outing, after reported glute tightness cut his previous outing short. Max sports a 2.56/2.89/2.60/3.10 ERA/xERA/FIP/xFIP slashline and has been worth 3.2 fWAR, good for fourth among pitchers this season.
Espino made his career MLB debut at age 30 in 2017, was terrible that season in 24.0 innings and only returned to the majors in 2020. Since the beginning of 2020, however, he has had peripherals in the low/mid 4 range over nearly 170 innings, which is not great, but is of some value to a major league team. He manages this modest level of success with a low walk-rate and a legitimately nasty curveball that has 98th percentile spin rate. He doesn’t strike out a ton of batters and doesn’t even have a particularly high ground ball rate, but he gets eats innings with a non-disastrous run prevention rate. He throws a high 80s four-seamer nearly 50% of the time mixing in mostly a slider and that curveball the rest of the time, with the occasional changeup. The curve and slider are both pretty effective, although not world-beaters, while the four-seamer is quite hittable. Needless to say, this is not a difficult matchup for Atlanta and they should definitely be significant favorites on paper. Now let’s hope they take care of business, which they have been very good at doing of late.
Game Date/Time: Saturday, July 16, 4:05 p.m. ET
Location: Nationals Park, Washington DC
TV: Bally Sports Southeast
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan