Washington Nationals: 5 to watch as Braves visit before All-Star Break

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 14: Brandon Phillips
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 14: Brandon Phillips /
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Daniel Murphy

Daniel Murphy is one of the best hitters in the world and crushes most teams, but especially the Braves. In 23 games against Atlanta since signing with the Nats, he has hit .379 with seven homers, 18 RBI’s, and 17 runs scored.

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Murphy has also enjoyed quite a bit of success against the Braves’ probable starting pitchers for this series. In 13 at-bats against tonight’s probable starter, Mike Foltynewicz, he has hit .462. In six at-bats against Friday’s probable starter, R.A. Dickey, he has hit .667 with two homers. Finally, in 25 at-bats against Saturday’s probable starter, Julio Teheran, he has hit .320 with a homer and six RBI’s.

Some of those matchups contain small sample sizes, but in 44 at-bats against the three pitchers combined, Murphy has hit .409. 44 at-bats is definitely a substantial sample size, and it confirms that Murphy has been very successful against the three throughout his career.

Murphy has been one of the hottest hitters in the league lately, and has recorded a hit in 19 of his last 20 starts. His last game was also one of his best of the season. On July 4, he went 4-for-5 with five RBI’s against the Mets. If Murphy is able to stay hot, the Nats should be in a good position to win the series.

Next: Setback for Shawn Kelley

The Nationals have built a huge lead in the NL East, while the Braves are surprisingly right around .500 and in fourth place in the NL Wild Card race. Bryce Harper, Freddie Freeman, Gio Gonzalez, Mike Foltynewicz, and Daniel Murphy should all be players to watch during what looks to be an entertaining four-game series between the top two teams in the NL East.