Turns out there’s no cure for what ails you quite like the Nationals pitching staff. The Atlanta Braves came into D.C. in a bit of a post-clinching swoon, but after a 10-3 win on Thursday night, all seems well with the NL East champs. Atlanta (98-55) will go for two in a row on Friday with Charlie Morton (14-12, 3.66 ERA) on the mound, while the Nationals (68-86) counter with veteran lefty Patrick Corbin (10-13, 5.00). First pitch from Nationals Park is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.
The Braves enter as -250 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, while Washington is at +205. The run total is set at 9.
Braves-Nationals picks: Friday, September 22
Out: RP Collin McHugh (right shoulder inflammation), SP Michael Soroka (right forearm inflammation)
Out: SP Mackenzie Gore (finger), OF Travis Blankenhorn (foot), C Riley Adams (hand)
Charlie Morton vs. Patrick Corbin
As Atlanta sets its sights on a deep October run, their main priority is getting their rotation in order — and that starts with getting Morton back on track. The righty was brilliant to start the second half, but he’s struggled over his last few starts, posting a 7.36 ERA and ugly 2.05 WHIP — including 12 walks — in 14.2 September innings. He simply couldn’t find the strike zone against the Marlins last weekend, giving up six hits and five free passes while allowing six runs in just 4.2 innings. When Morton is throwing strikes, his curveball remains one of the very best in the game. That’s a big “when”, though.
Corbin, by contrast, has actually been pitching about as well as he has all year. The veteran has put together two consecutive quality starts, allowing two runs on five hits with eight Ks over six innings against the Pirates before holding the Brewers to one run on four hits in six innings last weekend. Of course, he got shelled for eight runs against the Mets to start September, so the floor here is still very low — and he gave up four runs (two earned) on seven hits and three walks in just three innings in his first start against Atlanta this year.
The Braves cleared this total all by themselves in last night’s win, and I think we’re headed for the over again on Friday — especially given Morton’s command struggles. That’s the sort of thing that will sink you no matter how friendly the matchup is, and despite how mediocre the Nats have been at the plate this month, I think Washington contributes enough to get it done.
Pick: Over 9
Look, don’t overthink this. The Braves’ lineup got themselves back on track on Thursday night, and Corbin has a very thin margin for error given how pedestrian his stuff is at this point in his career. Even if Morton gets wild again, I think he’ll get enough run support to grab a win.
Pick: Braves -250