A week ago it looked like the Nationals were lining up their number one ace, Max Scherzer, for a start in this Braves series to be bookended by Patrick Corbin today and Anibal Sanchez on Wednesday. Now it looks all but certain that Scherzer’s spot on Tuesday will go to Erick Fedde if there is a 10-day IL move which will be needed to bring Fedde back since he has not been ten days on his option back to the Minors.
“They might be the scariest team in the National League that no one wants to face ,” MLB Network analyst Mark DeRosa said. “They can go into the Wild Card game and throw Max Scherzer and then game one of the division series and matchup against anybody with Stephen on the mound and then Corbin backing him up and then we will see what happens in game three. They are definitely a scary team.”
With Corbin on the mound, the Braves have lefty Dallas Keuchel who was not signed in the offseason and went to the Braves last month on a prorated deal for just the four months this season. The Nats have hit Keuchel well in the past except for Kurt Suzuki who is not expected to start with Corbin pitching. The Braves have Julio Teheran scheduled for tomorrow and Mike Soroka for the afternoon finale on Wednesday.
Both teams are dealing with some recent injuries. Obviously Scherzer’s status is unknown as is Matt Adams who suffered a foot injury after a hit-by-pitch, and Austin Voth will not be back for a while. The Braves just lost Nick Markakis with a broken wrist, Dansby Swanson was put on the 10-day IL with heel pain, and Ronald Acuna is dealing with a sore neck but expected to be fine according to what he said after the game. This is clearly a bigger series for the Nats, but the Braves have only won four of their last eleven games. The Braves are also looking at the trade market to fill some holes.
“You can make up some ground because you’re playing the people that are in first,” second baseman Brian Dozier said.
The Nats are 5.5 games out of first place, and if they win tonight, they get back to 4.5 games back. The alternative would not be good as these head-to-head games are where you can make your charge up the standings.
On the positive side, Jeremy Hellickson continues to rehab from his shoulder injury and is nearing a rehab assignment or a sim game.
Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 7:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN, FOX Southeast, ESPN (out-of-market), MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-up subject to change (without notice):