November 25, 2020

Washington Nationals vs Atlanta Braves Series Preview

After avoiding a sweep at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday afternoon, the Washington Nationals now welcome the Atlanta Braves to town for a three-game series with serious postseason implications.

Teams

Washington Nationals (80-61, 1st in NL East) vs Atlanta Braves (74-69, 2nd in NL East)

Schedule

Game 1: Monday, September 8 @ 7:05 PM 

Game 2: Tuesday, September 9 @ 7:05 PM

Game 3: Wednesday, September 10 @ 4:05 PM

Probable Pitchers (Season Stats; Career vs Opponent)

Game 1: Doug Fister (12-6, 2.66; 2-0, 1.80) vs Mike Minor (6-9, 4.65; 3-2, 4.64)

Game 2: Jordan Zimmermann (10-5, 2.93; 3-2, 2.92) vs Ervin Santana (14-7, 3.61; 1-1, 4.15)

Game 3: Stephen Strasburg (11-10, 3.43; 3-6, 4.62) vs Aaron Harang (10-10, 3.87; 2-4, 3.45)

Players to Watch

Washington:

  • Denard Span: .301 BA, 165 H, 36 doubles, 32 RBI, 29 SB
  • Adam LaRoche: .261 BA, .464 OBP, 19 doubles, 23 HR, 80 RBI
  • Ian Desmond: .248 BA, .417 SLG, 21 doubles, 22 HR, 81 RBI, 18 SB
  • Jayson Werth: .285 BA, .380 OBP, .450 SLG, 32 doubles, 16 HR, 77 RBI

Atlanta:

  • Freddie Freeman: .289 BA, .386 OBP, .473 SLG, 38 doubles, 18 HR, 70 RBI
  • Justin Upton: .284 BA, .511 SLG, 31 doubles, 26 HR, 91 RBI
  • Jason Heyward: .274 BA, 24 doubles, 3 triples, 11 HR, 56 RBI, 17 SB
  • Chris Johnson: .266 BA, 25 doubles, 9 HR, 55 RBI, 6 SB

Notables on the Injury Report

For both teams, the injury report is clean. With the exception of players that have been out for most of the season and don’t appear likely to return, there is nothing new to report for this specific series.

Series Notes

It has been a horrendous 2014 season for the Nationals when it comes to play Atlanta. The Braves lead the season series 9-4 and have outscored Washington 53-38 in those 13 contests. The Nats are on a bit of a rebounding, however, winning three of their last five against Atlanta.

A sweep in this series would put the Nationals 10 games ahead of Atlanta and would all but lock up the division. With just 21 games left, including this series, in the season, Washington would need quite a fall to give the Braves a chance to steal the championship. According to ESPN, the Nationals have a 99.7-percent chance of making the postseason.

Now that Rafael Soriano is no longer the closer, it’s time to pay real close attention to Drew Storen. Storen pitched a perfect ninth inning for the save on Sunday, but how long can he keep that up? We all remember 2012 and we’ve seen instances of that this year, but for the most part he’s been lights out. Perhaps Storen has finally developed into the closer that Mike Rizzo raved about when he first brought him into the organization.

Adam LaRoche is beginning to heat up for the Nationals. Through five games this September, he has four homers on five hits and 10 RBI. If he’s beginning to hit his stride, it’s coming at just the right time.

First he flashed the leather, now he’s starting to show what he’s capable on offense. Asdrubal Cabrera, like LaRoche, has found his swing. After batting just .239 in August, he’s batting .300 with two homers, three RBI and seven hits this September. He also has two stolen bases and three walks.

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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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