October 19, 2019

Washington Nationals vs Atlanta Braves Series Preview

After taking two-of-three from the New York Mets and moving 4.5 games ahead of the Atlanta Braves, the Washington Nationals now head south to Atlanta for a three-game series with their division rivals.

Teams

Washington Nationals (62-51, 1st in NL East) vs Atlanta Braves (58-56, 2nd in NL East)

Schedule

Game 1: Friday, August 8 @ 7:35 PM EST

Game 2: Saturday, August 9 @ 7:10 PM EST

Game 3: Sunday, August 10 @ 8:00 PM EST on ESPN 

Probable Pitchers (Season Stats; Career vs Opponent)

Game 1: Stephen Strasburg (8-9, 3.39; 3-5, 4.04) vs Ervin Santana (10-6, 3.59; 0-1, 3.82)

Game 2: Tanner Roark (11-7, 2.94; 2-0, 2.35) vs Aaron Harang (9-6, 3.41; 2-4, 3.72)

Game 3: Gio Gonzalez (6-8, 4.01; 2-7, 5.31) vs Alex Wood (7-9, 3.20; 1-1, 1.57)

Players to Watch

Washington:

  • Denard Span: .300 BA, .356 OBP, 30 doubles, 5 triples, 25 RBI, 23 SB
  • Adam LaRoche: .275 BA, 17 doubles, 15 HR, 59 RBI
  • Anthony Rendon: .278 BA, .464 SLG, 31 doubles, 5 triples, 14 HR, 62 RBI, 11 SB
  • Wilson Ramos: .295 BA, .343 OBP, 8 doubles, 4 HR, 26 RBI

Atlanta:

  • Freddie Freeman: .283 BA, .370 OBP, 30 doubles, 4 triples, 15 HR, 62 RBI, 57 BB
  • Justin Upton: .281 BA, .496 SLG, 27 doubles, 1 triple, 19 HR, 64 RBI
  • Chris Johnson: .276 BA, 23 doubles, 8 HR, 49 RBI
  • Jason Heyward: .271 BA, 18 doubles, 3 triples, 9 HR, 43 RBI, 13 SB

Notables on the Injury Report

Washington:

  • Ryan Zimmerman: Zimmerman has been diagnosed with a grade three hamstring strain, so his return at any point during the season is up in the air.
  • Nate McLouth: McLouth received a cortisone shot in his shoulder earlier this week and is on the 15-day DL. He won’t be available for this series.

Atlanta:

  • Andrelton Simmons: Simmons is currently listed as day-to-day with an ankle injury. He hasn’t playing since August 5th and the fact that he’s “hoping” to avoid the DL isn’t too promising.
  • Jason Heyward: Heyward is currently listed as day-to-day with back soreness, but did go 2-for-4 in Atlanta’s most recent game.

Series Notes

Many words have been written, but none of them seem to help folks better understand why the Nationals struggle so much against Atlanta. Since coming to D.C. in 2005, Washington is 82-92 against Atlanta, including 36-50 on the road. This season, things haven’t been very good as Washington is 3-7 against the Braves while being outscored 18-40 in those seven losses.

Denard Span just seems to keep getting better and better. He now has an 11-game hitting streak while reaching base in his last 33 games. This August, he’s batting .448 with a .934 OPS. The last time Span failed to reach base in a game was June 27 against the Chicago Cubs.

Perhaps Bryce Harper is emerging from his slump. On Thursday, he hit his fourth homer of the season for a walk-off win. After batting .228 through July, he’s dropped to a .200 average in August. However, he does have a hit in his past two games.

When you look at the standings, this is an important series for Washington. They sit 4.5 games ahead of the Braves and have a chance to take a commanding 7.5-game lead. Considering they won’t face them again until September 8-10, this could deliver a devastating blow to an Atlanta team crumbling following an 0-8 road trip.

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Brian Skinnell is a sports writer born and raised in the Washington, D.C.-metro area and covers the Washington Nationals, Wizards and MiLB for District Sports Page. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+!

About Brian Skinnell

Brian Skinnell is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Nationals and college football. He is a born-and-raised follower of Washington, D.C. sports, “The” Ohio State Buckeyes and auto racing. A graduate of Shepherd University in December of 2014, he has a degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies with a Concentration in Sports Communications. Prior to joining District Sports Page (for his second stint), he spent time with Rant Sports, Yahoo Sports and the Washington Redskins. For his day job, he is an Editor for Team Velocity Marketing. Follow him on Twitter @Brian_Skinnell.

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