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Nats-Braves series preview

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Nats-Braves series preview

Braves @ Nationals
70-51 2nd in NL East 75-46 1st in NL East

The Rundown
Monday, August 20 Wednesday, August 22
Series 40
Season Series Record vs. Braves: 8-4

Pitching Probables
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

Braves

Hot: SP Kris Medlen 3-0, 1.05 ERA as a starter
Not: 2B Dan Uggla .156 AVG, 12 K in last 10 games

Nationals

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.

Quote Corner
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

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto, the youngest player in the majors at 19, hit a three-run homer in his first career start as the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 10-2 on Monday.

Mark Reynolds had two solo home runs for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Harper had a homer and an RBI double.

Soto's drive highlighted a five-run second inning for Washington. The promising outfielder, who played for three minor league teams this season, hit the first pitch from Robbie Erlin (1-3) over the Nationals bullpen in left-center field. Soto also singled.

Soto's homer traveled an estimated 442 feet at Nationals Park. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and the teenager responded by taking a curtain call. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Soto became the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Called up to Washington on Sunday, Soto became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. He entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and struck out.

Washington's starting left fielder began the season at Class A Hagerstown. He hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his three minor league stops.

Gio Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

San Diego's Franmil Reyes, playing in his seventh career game, also hit his first career home run.

Trea Turner hit a pair of RBI doubles for Washington. Reynolds had three hits.

Erlin surrendered six runs and seven hits over four innings in his third start of the season. San Diego had won three in a row.

Reyes connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Padres' lineup generated little else against Gonzalez, who allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision at San Diego on May 9.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

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@MLB

Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

Juan Soto, the highly-regarded 19-year-old Nationals' prospect, got his first major league start of his career tonight. 

How did it go, you ask? Surely it would take Soto - who was in Single-A less than two weeks ago - some time to adjust? 

What were you doing at 19??

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.