Friday, May 31, 2013

Game 54 Preview: Washington Nationals (27-27) at Atlanta Braves (32-21)

Pitching Probables:
RHP Stephen Strasburg (WSH) 3-5, 2.49 ERA
RHP Julio Teheran (ATL) 3-1, 3.67 ERA

Tonight's Starting Lineups (7:35 pm ET, FS South):

Nationals (career vs. Teheran):
Denard Span - CF (3-6, RBI, K)
Steve Lombardozzi - LF (N/A)
Ryan Zimmerman - 3B (0-3)
Adam LaRoche - 1B (2-4, 2 BB)
Ian Desmond - SS (3-6, 2 K)
Roger Bernadina - RF (N/A)
Danny Espinosa - 2B (1-6, K)
Kurt Suzuki - C (1-4, RBI, BB)
Stephen Strasburg - P (0-2, 2 K)

Braves (career vs. Strasburg):
Jason Heyward - CF (7-14, 2B, RBI, 2 BB, 2 K)
Ramiro Pena - SS (1-1, BB)
Justin Upton - RF (1-11, RBI, BB, 4 K)
Freddie Freeman - 1B (4-12, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K)
Evan Gattis - LF (1-3, HR, 2 RBI, K)
Brian McCann - C (6-15, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 4 K)
Dan Uggla - 2B (11-23, 2 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 3 BB, 8 K)
Chris Johnson - 3B (3-11, 3 RBI, 3 K)
Julio Teheran - P (1-2, 2B, K)

After an inconsistent start to the season, Nationals saw its bats heat up before Thursday's shutout loss to the Orioles. After losing 3 of 4 to their Beltway rivals, the Nats head south to face their division rivals, the Braves.
The NL East-leading Braves have dominated the season series so far against Washington, winning five of the first seven meetings and outscoring them 30-13. Nats managed to salvage the final two games of a four-game series at the beginning of the month.
After scoring 22 runs in nine games from May 14-22, Nats have averaged almost 4.5 runs per game over the last week. A big piece of the Nats offensive resurgence is Ryan Zimmerman. In 25 games this month, Zimmerman is hitting .326 (30-for-92) with 5 home runs and 17 runs batted in.
Bryce Harper, who is day-to-day with knee bursitis, had hoped to be back in the lineup Friday, but as a precaution, Davey Johnson kept the young star out of tonight's lineup. Roger Bernadina instead will play in right field tonight and hit seventh.
Julio Teheran is coming off a career-high 123 pitch effort against the Mets last Sunday night. The 22-year-old righty logged 6 2/3 innings while allowing just one run on five hits, walked three, and struck out five as he received another no decision.
Stephen Strasburg gets the ball for the Nationals on Friday night, looking to build off a sharp performance in a 6-1 win against the Phillies. Strasburg lasted eight innings while surrendering a run on five hits and struck out a season-high nine batters.

Alex Wood debut:
Braves selected the contract of left-hander Alex Wood prior to Thursday's game against the Blue Jays. Wood went 4-2 with a 1.26 ERA in 10 starts for Double-A Mississippi. He pitched in the 9th inning of Thursday night's game, allowing only one hit as the Braves defeated the Blue Jays, 11-3. With his MLB debut, Wood became the 5th player from the 2012 MLB Draft class to reach the Majors. Wood was also rated the #5 prospect, according to

Side note:
Braves have played just 22 home games this season, but are 16-6 at Turner Field.
Atlanta is 30-6 in games with a homer, 2-15 without a home run.
In his past three starts, Stephen Strasburg has  posted a .173 batting average against while allowing only two extra-base hits, both of which were doubles.
Strasburg is 3-4 with a 3.51 ERA in nine career starts against the Braves, but is 1-2 with a 5.31 ERA at Turner Field.
This weekend's series for the Nationals against the Braves will conclude a rough road stretch that Atlanta endured in April. Nats will have played a 32-game stretch that including just 10 home games. Washington is 14-15 so far during that span.

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