Braves @ Nationals
70-51 2nd in NL East 75-46 1st in NL East
Monday, August 20 Wednesday, August 22
Season Series Record vs. Braves: 8-4
denotes left handed pitcher
Monday, August 20 7:05 pm
Tim Hudson (12-4, 3.59 ERA) @ Jordan Zimmermann (9-7, 2.38 ERA)
Tuesday, August 21 7:05 pm
Paul Maholm (2-1, 1.57 ERA) @ Stephen Strasburg (14-5, 2.91 ERA)
Wednesday, August 22 7:05 pm
Kris Medlen (4-1, 2.03 ERA) @ Ross Detwiler(7-5, 3.25 ERA)
Whos Hot & Whos Not
Hot: SP Kris Medlen 3-0, 1.05 ERA as a starter
Not: 2B Dan Uggla .156 AVG, 12 K in last 10 games
Hot: OF Michael Morse 4 HR, 10 RBI in last 10 games
Not: RP Drew Storen 6.00 ERA, 6 BB in month of August
A Series Look
Its finally here. If you want as big of a series as you can get late in the season, this is it right here: Nationals vs. Braves. Evidence could be seen during yesterdays Mets-Nats rain delay, when the Braves game was played on the scoreboard. Every time the Braves would give up a run, the Nationals fan base would cheer.
While the Nationals may be calling it just another series, everyone in the baseball world knows whats on the line between the Braves and the Nationals this week in Washington. The Nationals, owners of baseballs best record, are nursing a 5 game lead over the Braves in the NL East. After this 3-game set, the teams meet only one more time before seasons end.
Tim Hudson, tonights starter who has generally owned the Nats in his career, has absolutely been shelled by Nats hitters this season. The veteran right-hander is 0-2 with a 8.53 ERA against the Nationals in two starts in 2012. His counterpart, Jordan Zimmermann, believe it or not hasnt faced the Braves this year. Zimmermann is 2-1 with a 3.09 ERA in his career against the Braves. The NL ERA leader, Zimmermann, made his MLB debut against the Braves back in 2009 (a 3-2 win).
Tonights game could set the tone for the rest of the series. This week wont make or break either teams postseason hopes, but one of two things will certainly happen. The Nationals will build upon their NL East lead; or the Braves will cut into it. Regardless, Nats fans have been waiting for years to have meaningful baseball in the late summer months. Its finally here.
Prediction: Nationals win 2-1
News and Notes>Odds & Ends:SP Gio Gonzalez needs just one more win to set a personal single season record in number of wins Closer Tyler Clippard posted his fifth consecutive scoreless appearance with yesterdays save, his 27th of the season The Nationals have sent out postseason packet information to season ticket holders.
Down on the Farm
>AAASyracuse: Expect RP Christian Garcia to not only be a September call-up, but to be a key piece to the Nationals postseason run. In 48 innings in AAHarrisburg and AAASyracuse combined, the former Yankees prospect has allowed just 4 earned runs. Garicas fastball is in the mid-90s range and has 63 strikeouts in both levels.
>AAHarrisburg: 3B Anthony Rendon, who is potentially a candidate for a September call-up (although highly unlikely), is hitting .125 since being called up to the Senators.
>A (Advanced)Potomac: 2011 1st round pick SP Alex Meyer continues to pitch well for the P-Nats. He is the owner of a 2-2 record with a 2.45 ERA.
The Braves missed a chance to put some pressure on the Nationals, which they would have done had they come into the series closer than five games back. It wouldn't have been easy for them to do that, the way the Nationals have been playing, but by allowing the gap to get to five games, the Braves failed to really put the Nationals under pressure.
This team has responded well to everything so far, and there's no reason to believe they would fall apart under pressure. But we're not really going to find out, not this week, anyway.-Danny Knobler, Baseball Columnist, CBSSports.com