The Washington Nationals will play at Truist Park for the first time this season when they kick-off a three-game weekend series with their division rival, the Atlanta Braves. After going on a hot streak in early May, the Nationals have started to cool down as they’re on a four-game losing streak and are 3-7 in their last ten games. It’s noteworthy they have played some tough opponents, but still, the Nationals have looked lackluster at times.
On the other hand, the Braves are rolling as they’ve won five straight, including sweeping the Mets in three come-from-behind dramatic wins. The Braves will start AJ Smith-Shawver today, who is a rookie, believe it or not, the RHP pitched for the Class-A Rome Braves three months ago. The Nationals have a great opportunity to pounce on the Braves early and secure the first win of the series if they find a way to take advantage of the youngster.
The Nationals will respond with Josiah Gray, who will start the series opener after having his start pushed back due to the air quality situation in D.C. yesterday caused by the Canadian fires. Gray has had a productive start to this season, and after giving up the most home runs in baseball last season, Gray has taken impressive strides this year. However, he’s coming off arguably his worst outing of the season when he allowed four runs against the Phillies.
The Nationals sit at the bottom of the N.L. East with a 25-36 record, heading into this Braves series. The Nationals have been playing some sloppy baseball lately, and their opponents won’t get easier as they go to Houston to play the Astros after completing a three-game series in Atlanta. If the Nationals can win three of six, they could switch places with the Mets. New York is in Pittsburgh for a three-game series, and then they host the Yankees.
Tale of the Tape
|All-Time matchup record||372-413||413-372|
|Team Average||.263 (T-3)||.265 (2)|
|Runs||260 (23)||323 (4)|
|Hits||548 (10)||560 (5)|
|Home Runs||46 (29)||48 (T-28)|
|K%||18.7% (1)||22.5% (15)|
|OBP||.327 (10)||.335 (3)|
|ERA||4.67 (23)||3.78 (8)|
|WHIP||1.47 (23)||1.28 (8)|
|Run Differential||-46 (25)||+70 (3)|
|Errors||41 (3)||39 (4)|
Smith-Shawver will make his first MLB start against the Nationals tonight. He first appeared in a game last weekend where he threw 2 1/3 innings, allowing 0 hits and striking out three.
Joey Meneses leads the team with a .305 batting average, and Lane Thomas leads Washington with nine home runs.
The Nationals are giving up 5.02 runs per game, and opposing batters have a .268 batting average against the team. If the Nationals want to eclipse 70+ wins, the pitching has to improve.
The Nationals are 2.5 games behind the Mets for fourth place in the division.
Scouting the lineup
|Projected starting lineup||AB||BA||H||HR||RBI||OPS||WAR|
|RF Ronald Acuna Jr.||245||.331||81||12||33||.959||3.3|
|1B Matt Olson||228||.232||53||17||43||.869||1.2|
|3B Austin Riley||236||.271||64||10||3o||.792||1.3|
|C Travis d’Arnaud||72||.278||20||1||8||.682||0.0|
|LF Eddie Rosario||184||.250||46||8||25||.738||-0.2|
|2B Ozzie Albies||233||.258||60||13||39||.786||1.5|
|DH Marcell Ozuna||162||.235||38||11||25||.790||0.5|
|SS Orlando Arcia||139||.317||44||4||15||.835||1.6|
|CF Michael Harris II||127||.181||23||3||11||.552||-0.1|
Probable Pitching Matchups
Favorite: Braves (-200)
Underdog: Nationals (+165)
Television: Nationals fans will be able to watch all three games against the Braves on MASN. Bob Carpenter will handle play-by-play duties, with Kevin Frandsen as the color analyst. Dan Kolko will report from the field. MASN’s television territory covers all or parts of six states and the District of Columbia, from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to Charlotte, N.C., including Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Local Radio: 106.7 is the flagship station of the Washington Nationals. Find all listings here. Play-by-play broadcasters Dave Jageler and Charlie Slowes will call the action. All games will be available to listen to on the radio.