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Trea Turner continues to kill Braves, as Nats win opener in Atlanta

Trea Turner continues to kill Braves, as Nats win opener in Atlanta

Postgame analysis of the Nats' 7-2 win over the Atlanta Braves on Friday night at Turner Field.

How it happened: For years, Nationals fans have dreaded the sight of Freddie Freeman, the Braves first baseman who has absolutely killed Washington in head-to-head matchups ever since he entered the league back in 2010. But in Trea Turner, the Nats may have their equalizer.

Turner continued to have his way with Atlanta in Friday night's 7-2 win with four hits, including a two-run homer, his ninth of the season. It was Turner's 10 career home run and five of those have come against the Braves. He also scored four runs and stole two bases.

In 17 career games vs. Atlanta, Turner is now 28-for-64 (.438) with five homers, 15 RBI, 18 runs, six steals and five doubles. Turner has only played in 58 games this season, yet he has the most hits of any MLB player (23) against the Braves in 2016. And in those 58 games this year - 55 of them starts - Turner has 30 multi-hit outings. This was his third four-hit game and his ninth time with three or more.

Daniel Murphy landed an RBI double in the second inning to score Jayson Werth, who had three hits, two runs and an RBI. Anthony Rendon had two hits and singled in two runners in the first inning. Stephen Drew singled, walked and scored a run.

Murphy also singled and added a sacrifice fly to score Turner in the seventh. Murphy has 104 RBI, which is just six less than Ryan Zimmerman's team record set back in 2006.

The Nats scored five runs in the first two innings to give Max Scherzer a nice cushion early in his start. He allowed two runs across seven frames with eight strikeouts and two walks.

The Nationals have won nine of their last 11 games. They are 15-2 against the Braves, which is the most wins they've ever had against Atlanta in team history (2005-present). Their previous high was 14 wins, set in 2015.

What it means: The Nats moved to 88-59 overall on the year and dropped their magic number to win the NL East to six. The Mets won, so the Nationals' lead in the division remains at 10 games. 

Scherzer goes seven again: Scherzer made it through the seventh inning for the 20th time in 31 starts this season. It was the 18th time he's gone at least seven innings with two runs or less surrendered and it was the 17th time he's struck out eight or more batters in a game. Scherzer's season ERA went unchanged at 2.78 on the season, good for sixth in MLB and right behind teammate Tanner Roark. Scherzer earned his 17th win, which is third-best in his career. He won 18 games in 2014 and 21 the year before, when he won the AL Cy Young award.

Rendon gets them started: The Nats got on the board early thanks to Rendon's two-run single with the bases loaded. He roped a line drive to left field off Braves starter John Gant to score Turner and Werth. Rendon now has 78 RBI on the season and 45 in the second half. In 55 games since the All-Star break, Rendon is now 62-for-197 (.315). His .355 on-base percentage this season is higher than it was in 2014 (.351), when he won a Silver Slugger and finished fifth in NL MVP voting.

Werth gets three: Werth's three hits on Friday represented a mini-breakthrough, as the Nats outfielder had been slumping with just two hits in his previous six games across 23 total at-bats. He also scored two runs for the first time since Aug. 26. In his last 34 games, Werth is 32-for-135 (.237) with 36 strikeouts. His bat has cooled down, but the Nats have gone 21-13 in that span, so it's not hurting them.

Up next: The Nats and Braves have a quick turnaround with a 1:05 p.m. start on Saturday, in the penultimate matchup between the two teams this season, and ever at Turner Field. Gio Gonzalez (11-9, 4.27) will face off with Braves right-hander Josh Collmenter (1-0, 4.84).

[RELATED: Nats prospect Andrew Stevenson on first full pro season, AFL]

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Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

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Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

Now that pitchers and catchers have reported, the next step in our long journey to Opening Day is the spring training games themselves. Not every game is televised, so get ready to follow along with your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll still be exciting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Bryce Harper homered again, or if Max Scherzer is perfect through 4 innings (spoiler: both of these will happen).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing contracts in the next few weeks. The Nats are always willing to make a big splash, and even beyond the available free agents, have been linked to impact players like J.T. Realmuto in trade rumors.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the roster has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be happening while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for their seasons, so bookmark this page to check on the Nationals spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Nationals 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Braves at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Feb. 26 - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 1 (SS) - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Tigers at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Monday, Mar. 5 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 6 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Nationals at Tigers, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 13 (SS) - Mets at Nationals, 7:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 (SS) - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Mar. 17 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (ESPN2) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Nationals at Mets, 6:10 pm
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 - Nationals at Marlins, 7:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 27 (at Nationals Park) - Twins at Nationals, 4:05 pm
 

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May the odds be ever in your favor: Vegas sets over/unders for 2018 MLB season

May the odds be ever in your favor: Vegas sets over/unders for 2018 MLB season

The start of spring training is a glimmer of hope during the cold of winter. It means warm weather, cold beers and hot dogs at the ballpark are coming your way.

It's our first chance to get a taste of how our favorite team is shaping up for the 2018 season, and for those who are not quite into just the game itself, betting odds.

CG Technology, a Las Vegas sportsbook operator, has set the 2018 odds for each MLB team.

Specifically, how are things looking for the local teams?

RELATED: 2018 SPRING TRAINING REPORT DATES

Washington Nationals: 91 1/2 wins

The 2018 season is looked at by many as the last World Series run for some time for the Nationals and their core group of players. Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Gio Gonzalez will become free agents after the 2018 season in addition to general manager and President of Baseball Operations, Mike Rizzo.

In 2017, the team won 97 games and went on to win the NL East, but couldn't make it past the first-round of the National League Division Series. In 2018, Vegas is giving the Nats 7/2 odds of taking the National League title. They are just behind the Chicago Cubs, who knocked them out of contention last season, at 4/1 odds.

As far as winning the World Series, Vegas is giving the guys an 8/1 chance of their first title, tied with the Cubs.

Baltimore Orioles: 77 1/2 wins

The O's finished the 2017 season with 75 wins, which could be considered somewhat of an accomplishment considering their pitching resources.

The same problem will occur in 2018 as the organization hasn't signed any new starting pitchers. Vegas is giving them 50/1 odds of taking the American League title and 100/1 odds of winning the World Series.

The lack of depth in their rotation will come back to bite them as division rival New York Yankees have 5/1 odds of winning the World Series and the Red Sox have 10/1 odds.

A below average season should be expected.

A few other standouts, good and bad, include the Miami Marlins at 500/1 odds of winning the World Series, the Kansas City Royals at 200/1 and current champions, the Houston Astros, at 6/1 odds.

RELATED: FORMER NATS PITCHER ARRESTED WITH MORE THAN 40 POUNDS OF SUSPECTED COCAINE