After completing a two-games sweep of the Houston Astros, the Washington Nationals now welcome in the Atlanta Braves for a four-game showdown between the top two teams in the NL East.
Washington Nationals (37-33, 1st in NL East) vs Atlanta Braves (36-35, 2nd in NL East)
Game 1: Thursday, June 19 @ 7:05 PM EST on MLB Network
Game 2: Friday, June 20 @ 7:05 PM EST
Game 3: Saturday, June 21 @ 7:15 PM EST on FOX
Game 4: Sunday, June 22 @ 1:35 PM EST
Probable Pitchers (Season Stats; Career vs Opponent)
Game 1: Jordan Zimmermann (5-3, 2.98; 3-1, 2.98) vs Gavin Floyd (1-2, 2.98; 1-2, 4.45)
Game 2: Stephen Strasburg (6-5, 3.06; 3-5, 3.86) vs Mike Minor (2-4, 4.42; 3-2, 4.96)
Game 3: Doug Fister (5-2, 3.08; 1-0, 3.86) vs Julio Teheran (6-4, 2.31; 3-1, 2.93)
Game 4: Tanner Roark (6-4, 2.85; 1-0, 2.55) vs Ervin Santana (5-4, 4.12; 0-0, 3.67)
Players to Watch
- Adam LaRoche (1B): .302 BA, .416 OBP, 8 HR, 35 RBI
- Ian Desmond (SS): 13 HR, 44 RBI, .238 BA
- Jayson Werth (RF): 74 H, 6 HR, 33 RBI, .280 BA
- Aaron Barrett (RHP): 24.1 IP, 1.85 ERA, 29 K
- Justin Upton (LF): .278 BA, 14 HR, 37 RBI, .510 SLG
- Evan Gattis (C): .294 BA, 16 HR, 38 RBI, .934 OPS
- Freddie Freeman (1B): .276 BA, 11 HR, 36 RBI, 20 doubles
- Craig Kimbrel (Closer): 27.1 IP, 1.98 ERA, 50 K, 20 SV
Notables on the Injury Report
For the Nationals, Wilson Ramos and Bryce Harper are the two most notable players on this series’ injury report. Don’t expect either of them to return for this series, which isn’t always bad considering drama always finds Harper when these two teams square off.
The Braves will be down a reliever for this series as David Carpenter is on the 15-day DL with a biceps injury. Should Atlanta need their bullpen early in a game, that’s one thing to keep an eye on. More importantly, Justin Upton left Tuesday’s game early and missed Wednesday’s game due to an illness. Following Wednesday’s game, he told the media that he still felt dizzy.
Just three times since coming to D.C. in 2005 has Washington taken the season series from Atlanta, the last time being 2012. In their past 25 games going back to last year, the Nationals are 7-18 against Atlanta, including 1-5 this year. In that same span, Washington is 3-9 at home.
Currently up 1.5 games on the Braves, Washington could extend their lead to 5.5 games with a sweep. With Bryce Harper’s and Wilson Ramos’ returns just around the corner, along with the All-Star break, that would be quite the boost as the playoff picture begins to shape up.
A Chesapeake, Virginia native, Justin Upton sure doesn’t mind playing the Nationals. In 196 at bats, he’s hitting .296 with a .391 OBP, nine home runs and 27 RBI. He’s done quite a bit of damage at Nats Park, hitting .299 with five home runs and 12 RBI. Should he play, he could be quite the difference maker.
Brian Skinnell is a sports writer born and raised in the Washington, D.C.-metro area. He’s had work published on Yahoo Sports and Rant Sports, and has made several radio show appearances across the country to discuss his works. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+!