Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Game 26 Preview: Washington Nationals (13-13) at Atlanta Braves (16-9)

First Pitch: 7:10 pm ET on SportSouth

Pitching Probables: 
Gio Gonzalez (WSH) 2-1, 4.50 ERA
Tim Hudson (ATL) 2-1, 4.50 ERA

Nationals Starting Lineup (career vs. Hudson):
Denard Span - CF (1-7, K)
Danny Espinosa - 2B (5-21, 2B, HR, RBI, 2 BB, 7 K)
Bryce Harper - RF (3-12, RBI, BB, K)
Adam LaRoche - 1B (6-24, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K)
Ian Desmond - SS (12-41, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 5 K)
Tyler Moore - LF (N/A)
Chad Tracy - 3B (3-14, 2B, 2 BB, 2 K)
Wilson Ramos - C (4-13, 2B, 2 RBI)
Gio Gonzalez - P (0-2, BB, K)

Braves Starting Lineup (career vs. Gonzalez):
Andrelton Simmons - SS (2-6, 2B, 3 RBI, 3 BB)
Chris Johnson - 3B (3-6, 2 RBI, 2 K)
Justin Upton - LF (1-4, HR, RBI, 2 BB)
Freddie Freeman - 1B (2-8, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 3 K)
Evan Gattis - C (1-3, 2B, RBI)
Dan Uggla - 2B (1-8, 2B, RBI, 6 BB, 3 K)
BJ Upton - CF (2-14, 2B, 4 K)
Reed Johnson - RF (1-6, 3B, 2 RBI, 2 K)
Tim Hudson - P (0-1, BB, K)

Is the third time a charm? Tim Hudson will make his third attempt to reach 200 wins in his career tonight at Turner Field against the rival Nationals. Hudson appeared to have his 200th win sealed up when he exited his last start against the Rockies with a two-run lead. Unfortunately for Hudson, the Rockies struck for two runs in the bottom of the 9th off closer Craig Kimbrel and eventually winning in the 11th inning. Huddy pitched great against the then red-hot bats of the Rockies, allowing three runs on six hits, walked two batters, and struck three over six innings en route to his no decision. In his third start of the season against the Nationals, Hudson out pitched Strasburg, only a run on four hits, and struck out three over seven spectacular innings. 
Nationals are going through a similar road game-heavy schedule that the Braves just finished up. Last night's game marked the beginning of a stretch where the Nats play 22 of their next 32 games on the road, which begins and ends at Turner Field. Getting the ball tonight will be Gio Gonzalez, the Nationals second ace. Gonzalez looked like his normal self in his last outing against the Reds, going eight innings and allowing just one run on one hit, walked two batters, and struck out seven on his way to his second win of 2013. But Gonzalez struggled mightily against the Braves on April 14th. Over five innings, Gonzalez allowed seven runs on seven hits, walked three batters, and struck out three as the Braves whipped up on the Nats, 9-0. 

Last chance for Justin Upton to tie April HR record:
Justin Upton enters Tuesday's April finale with 12 home runs, two shy of tying the all-time record for homers hit in April, which is held by Albert Pujols (2006) and Alex Rodriguez (2007).

Chris Johnson hitting in the 2 hole:
Fredi Gonzalez has decided to put Chris Johnson in the second spot of tonight's starting lineup. And why not? Chris Johnson enters play today leading the NL in hitting with a .367 average and has an OBP of .390. Fredi continues to shuffle the lineup in order to get runners on base in front of Justin Upton, who has 12 HRs this season, 11 of which have been solo. 

Side note: 
Craig Kimbrel is two saves shy of 100 for his career.
Jayson Werth is 15-for-39 (.385) with 3 HR and 11 RBI in his career against Tim Hudson, but is not in the lineup tonight due to a hamstring and an ankle injury (fouled ball off ankle in last night's game).
Gio Gonzalez is 2-3 with a 6.08 ERA in 5 career starts against the Braves.
Tim Hudson is 15-5 with an ERA of 2.60 in 27 career starts against the Nationals.

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