This series in Atlanta has the top two teams in the NL East standings going head-to-head. Yes, if you are just waking up, the Washington Nationals are in 1st place in the NL East by a ½ game over the Atlanta Braves. While this series could change things in the short-term, the season still has about two-thirds of the season remaining which is over 100-games.
Some good news for the Washington Nationals came in the form of Ryan Madson activated from the 10-day disabled list on a day when Sean Doolittle will probably get the night to rest after two grueling games in a row in Baltimore. While Brandon Kintzler warmed up last night, he did not enter the game. In fact both “Everyday” Sammy Solis and Kintzler warmed up in the 8th inning and were not used. The corresponding move to activate Madson was optioning reliever Trevor Gott back to Triple-A Syracuse.
We should find out today more information on Matt Grace, Brian Goodwin, and Daniel Murphy who were all on rehab assignments with Double-A Harrisburg. The Nationals are still staying with a bullpen of eight and a bench of four. While is seems certain that when Goodwin and Murphy are ready to return that the rarely used Andrew Stevenson and Adrian Sanchez will head back to Triple-A Syracuse. Not far behind in recover is Adam Eaton who should be returning in eight days, and the roster decision points to Juan Soto staying. These next seven games will give players on the bubble an opportunity to prove their worth including the rookie phenom Soto who has to prove his stats are real or very close to what we have seen.
For tonight’s game, the Nationals will pitch Tanner Roark who happens to live in the Atlanta suburbs these days, and the Braves go with lefty Sean Newcomb who the Nats have faced twice before. Bryce Harper and Mark Reynolds both have home runs off of him, and Pedro Severino, Anthony Rendon and Trea Turner have all hit him well.
Newcomb just got smoked by the Red Sox getting pulled at 3.0 innings with an 88-pitch count. The Nationals got him for 6-runs back on April 2nd, but since then he has had some good games along with two more stinkers giving him a 2.75 ERA on the season. He’s a 3-pitch starter with a four-seam fastball in the mid-90’s, a change-up and a curveball. When he isn’t locating or a batter is sitting on a pitch he is very hittable. Newcomb has reverse splits and lefties hit him at an .800 OPS and righties at a .566 OPS. He also has reverse home/road splits where batters hit him at .250 in SunTrust Park compared to .189 on the road.
Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves
Stadium: SunTrust Park, Atlanta, Georgia
1st Pitch: 7:35 pm EDT
TV: MASN2; MLB App out-of-market
Nats Radio: 106.7 The Fan and via the MLB app
Line-ups subject to change without notice:
- Trea Turner SS
- Bryce Harper RF
- Anthony Rendon 3B
- Mark Reynolds 1B
- Juan Soto LF
- Michael Taylor CF
- Pedro Severino C
- Tanner Roark RHP
- Wilmer Difo 2B