The Atlanta Braves (28-24) and Washington Nationals (29-21) will open up a three-game National League East series on Friday night at Nationals Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 ET
Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals
Atlanta will head out on the road after capturing its last two home games against the St. Louis Cardinals, with the offense scoring 15 combined runs in those contests. “It puts us back on track,” commented Braves catcher Brian McCann. The Braves had previously scored just 20 combined runs during an eight-game losing streak that finally came to an end on Tuesday night. The club was swept in a three-game home series by Washington from May 25-27. Atlanta is 0-5 in its last five road games against right-handed starters.
Braves starting pitcher Mike Minor (2-4, 6.98 ERA) has watched the club drop his last three outings, giving up 14 earned runs and 17 hits over 15.2 innings of work over that span. The left-hander is 1-2 with a 7.27 ERA in six road outings, as opposing hitters are batting .307 against him. In four career games versus the Nationals, Minor has produced a 1-2 record and 4.79 ERA, which includes not factoring into the decision of an 8-4 home setback last time out. He surrendered four runs and six hits over five frames in that effort.
Washington finished its recently completed nine-game road trip with a 5-4 record, but did end up on the losing end of the last three contests. “It happens, but overall I think if you look at the road trip, we did alright,” stated Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa. The Nationals could welcome back a big bat to the lineup in the series opener, with outfielder Michael Morse working his way back from a torn left lat muscle injury. He managed to hit .303 with 31 home runs and 95 RBI during the 2011 MLB season. Washington is 8-3 in its last 11 games following an off day.
Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (5-1, 2.64 ERA) has won his last two outings despite lasting just five innings in each, but has also allowed seven runs (five earned) and 10 hits over that span. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 3.33 ERA in five home outings, issuing just six walks and striking out 28 in 27 frames. In three career games versus the Braves, Strasburg has put together a losing 1-2 record and 5.28 ERA, but picked up an 8-4 road win last time out in this series.
Bettors will likely back the Nationals due to their 5-0 mark in the last five meetings in this series, while the Braves are 0-5 in Minor’s last five outings against division rivals.