When Erick Fedde was optioned to the Minor Leagues after the doubleheader last Wednesday, he was told that it was a strategic move to bolster the lineup since the Nats would not need a 5th starter until Tuesday August 6th if they kept everyone else on regular rest. Best laid plans do not always work to the script and with Max Scherzer‘s rhomboid injury and 10-day IL move, Fedde is back sooner than later. The Braves have never faced Fedde before, and Braves manager Brian Snitker will almost certainly stack his lineup with lefties like Ender Inciarte, Brian McCann, and of course Freddie Freeman will be there. Along with those three, the Braves have two switch-hitters in Johan Camargo and Ozzie Albies. Of course Snitker could start Matt Joyce if he wanted to go as lefty as possible but then maybe Nats manager Dave Martinez could go the route of an “opener” again with Matt Grace to thwart this? The issue is that Fedde struggles against left-handed batters who hit him at .310 compared to righties at .191. The strategy for Fedde is you can bend but don’t break.
The Braves have Julio Teheran on the mound tonight. His 3.42 ERA is actually slightly higher than Fedde’s 3.40. The Nats have hit Teheran well in the past. If Matt Adams is healthy enough to go, he has a home run off of him going 2-5 against the righty. Another note on Teheran is that he is much worse on the road with a 4.45 ERA compared to a stingy 2.26 in SunTrust Park this year. You would almost think about inserting the left-handed Gerardo Parra into the lineup, but he is the one batter that Teheran has seemed to handle over the years.
For the Nats, the infield has to play better than they did last night. Brian Dozier booted two balls and charged with one error. Howie Kendrick allowed a ball to bounce out of his glove, and Anthony Rendon made a great diving stop but a poor throw on a ball and charged with an error. The Nats got away with some bumbling defense last night, and tonight they have to give Fedde their best.
For those on “trade watch”, at 4:00 pm today, the 24 hour clock clicks off to the only trade deadline this season. Today could be the day for moves. The Braves need bullpen help and might shore up in other areas, and we all know the Nationals must do the same.
Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 7:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN, FOX Southeast, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-up subject to change (without notice):