Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats vs. Braves (9/3-9/6)

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Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Shelby Miller (5-12, 2.56) vs. Gio Gonzalez (9-7, 4.13) – 7:05 PM ET, MASN/MLB Network

In his first season with the Braves, Shelby Miller has been the unluckiest pitcher in baseball. Miller, who was traded from St. Louis to Atlanta this offseason. Miller has not won a game in his last 19 starts, but he has not been bad in most of those games. The 24-year-old right-hander has given up three runs or fewer in seven of his last ten starts.

Back on August 31 against the Marlins, Miller went seven innings, gave up one run on six hits, struck out four batters, and walked none in a loss. While he is fifth in the NL in walks, he is eighth in innings pitched (172). The problem for Miller has been the lack of run support he gets from the worst offense in the game. He only gets 2.63 runs of support per game, which is the fewest in the majors.

This season, Miller is 0-1 with a 3.75 ERA in two starts against Washington, but he does have a 1.72 ERA in six starts against the Nats. Anthony Rendon is 4-for-11 with a double and a RBI against him.

During his last outing against the St. Louis Cardinals on August 31, Gio Gonzalez had a rough fourth inning, but managed to pull out a quality start. Gonzalez went six innings, gave up three runs on five hits, struck out four, and walked two in a no-decision. Gonzalez has not won a game in his last four starts (August 10 against the Dodgers).

Over the course of those four outings, Gonzalez has given up 17 earned runs and walked eight batters. While Gonzalez has been walking batters at a bad pace lately, he did throw first pitch strikes to 20 of the first 24 batters he faced. In his last nine outings, he is 3-3 with a 4.40 ERA and opponents have been hitting .291 against him.

Gonzalez faced Atlanta one time this season back on May 8. In that game, he went seven innings, gave up two runs on five hits, struck out eight, and walked one in a win. He is 2-0 in five career starts against Atlanta with a 2.97 ERA. Andrelton Simmons (.262, 3 HR, 34 RBI’s) is 7-for-20 with a double, a triple, two home runs, and five RBI’s against him.

Advantage: Even though every game is important for the Nationals at this point in the season, Gonzalez has not shown enough consistency to pick him in this game. Plus, Miller has to win a game eventually considering the bad luck streak he’s been on. Give me Atlanta to squeak out a 3-2 win and get Miller his first win since May.

Next: Sunday's Matchup