When manager Dave Martinez reset his rotation last weekend, he said that he had set his rotation for the remainder of the season with the possibility of inserting a sixth starter to take some innings off of Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin. Both pitchers are in the Top-5 in innings pitched and pitches thrown in the NL. Once Strasburg throws three innings tonight, he will once again lead the NL in innings pitched, and at 72 pitches he will once again lead the NL in that category. Many remember when the 25-year-old version of Strasburg threw 215-innings under the tutelage of his manager Matt Williams and what happened the following season. Stras is at 179-innings now, and unless he is skipped in a future start, he has tonight’s start plus four more ahead of him to complete the regular season. For tonight, Strasburg has to pitch like an ace and lead his team to a win as the Washington Nationals begin the first of four games against the Braves.
For the Braves, they will pitch one of their rookies in tonight’s game as Max Fried takes the mound, and the Braves have their own issues with usage as Fried only threw 111 1/3 innings last year for the Braves at all levels, and entering tonight’s game he is at 142 1/3. The Braves have been criticized for years with their usage and burning out young arms, and look no further than Sean Newcomb and Mike Foltynewicz who both threw career highs last year. Newcomb was shifted to the bullpen and Foltynewicz has been up and down all season. The Braves also have the rookie Mike Soroka who is at a career high 152 2/3 innings. With all of that said, the Braves leader in innings is Julio Teheran who is nowhere close to the Nats starters in innings as he is at 157 1/3 innings.
For Strasburg, he has found success pitching in Atlanta’s SunTrust Park. He has a 3.21 ERA there in five career starts. For the Nats offense, they have faced Fried before, and the right-handed batters found success. In fact the Nats are second in the NL with an .837 OPS against lefty pitchers this season, and almost tied for the best batting average against southpaws at .285. Decisions will have to be made with Ryan Zimmerman back on the roster along with Asdrubal Cabrera who have to share time with Howie Kendrick and Brian Dozier. Also, Kurt Suzuki has caught the previous two games and has been catching Strasburg too which complicates the ordering of Max Scherzer to Anibal Sanchez to Strasburg as Suzuki had been catching all three.
Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves
Stadium: SunTrust Bank, Atlanta, Georgia
1st Pitch: 7:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN, FOX Sports Southeast, MLB Network (out-of-market), MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-up subject to change (without notice):