Series Preview: Washington Nationals (27-27) @ Atlanta Braves (32-21)

Kevin C. Cox

After a great offensive display in Baltimore to get their confidence back*, the Nationals now go to Atlanta to face off against the Braves in a three-game series. (*- As long as you ignore the last 12 or so innings). We take a look at a series where the Nationals must win at least one game.

It isn't ideal to have a series against a team 5.5 games ahead of you in the standings in a division you were supposed to challenge for. The good news is that the Washington Nationals have a lot of time left, and while players, managers and fans are frustrated at the results to date it is important not to panic. The Nationals have their top two starters from a year ago going for them in this series and aren't facing the Braves best although they will have to avoid their problems against left-handed pitching in the finale.

Probable Pitchers
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
WSH: Stephen Strasburg (3-5, 2.49 ERA)
ATL: Julio Teheran (3-1, 3.67 ERA)

Saturday, 7:15 p.m.
WSH: Gio Gonzalez (3-3, 3.90 ERA)
ATL: Tim Hudson (4-4, 5.37 ERA)

Sunday, 1:35 p.m.
WSH: Nathan Karns (0-0, 6.75 ERA)
ATL: Paul Maholm (6-4, 3.74 ERA)

WASHINGTON NATIONALS


Batting

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
Zach Duke 11 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 1.000
Ryan Zimmerman 40 145 21 42 5 2 6 28 19 36 3 0 .290 .373 .476
Bryce Harper 44 150 29 43 7 1 12 23 25 30 2 2 .287 .386 .587
Denard Span 51 203 21 54 10 3 0 15 16 31 6 3 .266 .323 .345
Ian Desmond 53 199 20 52 15 2 6 20 11 50 5 1 .261 .296 .447
Jayson Werth 27 100 17 26 2 0 4 10 6 21 2 0 .260 .308 .400
Wilson Ramos 14 48 4 12 3 0 2 6 4 8 0 1 .250 .308 .438
Gio Gonzalez 11 16 1 4 1 0 1 1 1 4 0 0 .250 .294 .500
Adam LaRoche 51 175 25 43 5 1 10 27 22 54 2 0 .246 .328 .457
Kurt Suzuki 39 124 10 30 5 1 2 10 12 19 2 0 .242 .312 .347
Anthony Rendon 8 25 2 6 1 0 0 1 5 7 0 0 .240 .367 .280
Steve Lombardozzi 42 111 10 26 6 1 0 10 3 16 0 2 .234 .254 .306
Stephen Strasburg 11 23 1 4 2 0 0 0 0 8 0 0 .174 .174 .261
Danny Espinosa 41 148 11 24 9 0 3 12 4 43 1 0 .162 .194 .284
Chad Tracy 30 50 1 8 0 0 1 3 3 15 0 2 .160 .208 .220
Roger Bernadina 39 78 7 12 1 1 2 4 4 24 1 0 .154 .214 .269
Dan Haren 11 20 1 3 1 0 0 1 0 11 0 0 .150 .150 .200
Tyler Moore 35 90 7 13 5 0 2 12 6 35 0 0 .144 .196 .267
Jhonatan Solano 7 14 1 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 .143 .200 .143
Jordan Zimmermann 11 23 1 3 0 0 0 0 1 8 0 0 .130 .167 .130
Ross Detwiler 8 14 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 11 0 0 .000 .067 .000
Eury Perez 5 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Craig Stammen 13 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 .000 .500 .000
Jeff Kobernus 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Nate Karns 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Drew Storen 22 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Ryan Mattheus 14 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Tyler Clippard 23 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Rafael Soriano 22 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Henry Rodriguez 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Fernando Abad 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Yunesky Maya 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000

Pitching

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
Fernando Abad 0-0 4 0 0 0 0 0 2.1 1 0 0 0 1 2 0.00 .86
Jordan Zimmermann 8-3 11 11 3 1 0 0 79.2 65 22 21 6 10 49 2.37 .94
Stephen Strasburg 3-5 11 11 0 0 0 0 72.1 56 29 20 5 21 71 2.49 1.06
Ross Detwiler 2-4 8 8 0 0 0 0 45.2 56 16 14 3 10 23 2.76 1.45
Tyler Clippard 3-1 23 0 0 0 0 0 22.0 11 7 7 2 11 23 2.86 1.00
Rafael Soriano 1-1 22 0 0 0 14 3 22.0 20 8 7 2 4 16 2.86 1.09
Craig Stammen 2-1 13 0 0 0 0 1 23.2 26 8 8 2 5 25 3.04 1.31
Henry Rodriguez 0-0 16 0 0 0 0 0 17.2 13 7 7 1 14 11 3.57 1.53
Gio Gonzalez 3-3 11 11 0 0 0 0 64.2 51 29 28 6 30 60 3.90 1.25
Drew Storen 0-1 22 0 0 0 1 3 21.2 29 13 11 3 5 20 4.57 1.57
Ryan Mattheus 0-0 14 0 0 0 0 1 16.1 20 9 9 0 5 12 4.96 1.53
Dan Haren 4-6 11 11 0 0 0 0 63.2 76 40 36 12 9 51 5.09 1.34
Nate Karns 0-0 1 1 0 0 0 0 4.1 5 3 3 2 2 3 6.23 1.62
Zach Duke 1-1 11 1 0 0 0 0 20.0 29 20 18 2 4 11 8.10 1.65
Yunesky Maya 0-1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 2 2 2 1 0 0 54.00 6.00


Washington Nationals Injuries

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Jayson Werth ankle 05/03/2013
Ross Detwiler back 05/16/2013
Ryan Mattheus hand 05/20/2013
Wilson Ramos hamstring 05/16/2013
Christian Garcia forearm 03/22/2013

DAY-TO-DAY

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Bryce Harper knee 05/31/2013

ATLANTA BRAVES

Projected Lineup
SS Andrelton Simmons
RF Jason Heyward
LF Justin Upton
1B Freddie Freeman
C Brian McCann
2B Dan Uggla
3B Chris Johnson
CF B.J. Upton

Bench
C/1B/OF Evan Gattis
C Gerald Laird
IF Ramiro Pena
OF Reed Johnson
OF Jordan Schafer

Bullpen
RHP Craig Kimbrel
RHP Jordan Walden
LHP Luis Avilan
RHP Cory Gearrin
LHP Alex Wood
RHP Anthony Varvaro
RHP David Carpenter


Batting

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
Chris Johnson 39 134 18 46 10 0 3 14 6 33 0 0 .343 .376 .485
Blake DeWitt 4 3 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .667
Ramiro Pena 37 72 11 23 4 1 2 12 7 12 0 2 .319 .375 .486
Jordan Schafer 37 83 16 26 3 2 2 8 16 22 6 2 .313 .424 .470
Freddie Freeman 40 157 26 49 8 1 4 32 15 35 0 0 .312 .376 .452
Tim Hudson 11 21 2 6 1 0 1 3 2 8 0 0 .286 .348 .476
Evan Gattis 42 137 22 39 11 0 12 32 9 35 0 0 .285 .333 .628
Brian McCann 18 64 8 18 1 0 6 14 9 10 0 1 .281 .365 .578
Julio Teheran 9 18 0 5 1 0 0 0 1 7 0 0 .278 .316 .333
Gerald Laird 16 45 3 12 2 0 0 6 4 5 1 0 .267 .340 .311
Reed Johnson 32 57 2 15 5 0 1 6 2 15 0 0 .263 .311 .404
Justin Upton 51 185 38 48 8 1 14 29 33 60 4 0 .259 .371 .541
Andrelton Simmons 50 197 25 49 9 0 5 20 11 21 1 1 .249 .284 .371
Juan Francisco 35 108 10 26 2 0 5 16 7 43 0 1 .241 .287 .398
Dan Uggla 48 167 27 31 2 2 10 20 26 66 0 0 .186 .301 .401
Paul Maholm 11 24 1 4 1 0 0 1 0 11 0 0 .167 .167 .208
Jason Heyward 29 99 17 15 4 0 2 8 16 20 1 2 .152 .300 .253
B.J. Upton 45 158 12 23 4 0 4 8 16 62 3 3 .146 .232 .247
Tyler Pastornicky 6 7 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .143 .143 .286
Mike Minor 11 22 2 3 0 0 1 2 0 8 0 0 .136 .136 .273
Kris Medlen 11 17 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 8 0 0 .059 .111 .059
David Carpenter 6 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Anthony Varvaro 20 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Cristhian Martinez 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Jordan Walden 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Eric O`Flaherty 19 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Luis Avilan 24 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Cory Gearrin 29 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Craig Kimbrel 21 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Alex Wood 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Cory Rasmus 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Luis Ayala 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000

Pitching

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
Alex Wood 0-0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 1.00
Cory Gearrin 2-1 29 0 0 0 1 2 24.0 20 5 5 1 8 16 1.88 1.17
David Carpenter 0-0 6 0 0 0 0 0 9.1 9 2 2 1 7 7 1.93 1.71
Craig Kimbrel 1-1 21 0 0 0 16 3 20.1 14 5 5 3 5 30 2.21 .93
Anthony Varvaro 2-0 20 0 0 0 0 2 29.1 23 9 8 2 7 22 2.45 1.02
Mike Minor 7-2 11 11 0 0 0 0 72.2 53 21 20 7 14 66 2.48 .92
Eric O`Flaherty 3-0 19 0 0 0 0 1 18.0 12 5 5 2 5 11 2.50 .94
Luis Avilan 2-0 24 0 0 0 0 0 20.1 15 6 6 0 11 9 2.66 1.28
Kris Medlen 1-6 11 11 0 0 0 0 64.2 64 30 25 8 24 48 3.48 1.36
Julio Teheran 3-1 9 9 0 0 0 0 56.1 63 23 23 8 12 35 3.67 1.33
Paul Maholm 6-4 11 11 0 0 0 0 67.1 65 31 28 5 21 51 3.74 1.28
Luis Ayala 0-1 5 0 0 0 0 0 4.2 4 2 2 0 3 5 3.86 1.50
Jordan Walden 1-1 16 0 0 0 0 0 15.0 17 7 7 0 3 19 4.20 1.33
Tim Hudson 4-4 11 11 0 0 0 0 62.0 65 37 37 8 17 45 5.37 1.32
Cristhian Martinez 0-0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2.1 5 2 2 0 0 0 7.71 2.14
Cory Rasmus 0-0 2 0 0 0 0 0 3.2 5 5 5 3 3 3 12.27 2.18


Atlanta Braves Injuries

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Kris Medlen calf 05/30/2013

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Brandon Beachy elbow 03/22/2013
Jonny Venters elbow 03/27/2013
Cristhian Martinez shoulder 04/07/2013
Blake DeWitt lower-back 04/20/2013
Eric O`Flaherty elbow 05/18/2013
Luis Ayala other-excused 04/25/2013

DAY-TO-DAY

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Andrelton Simmons other-excused 05/31/2013

Pitcher to Watch
Tim Hudson

Looking at Tim Hudson's numbers (4-4, 5.37 ERA), you would think he was struggling. Although, looking more closely at the numbers, he is struck by some bad luck. A sinkerball pitcher, Hudson is used to getting a low BABIP as ground balls are more likely to turn to outs. Last year it sat at .270. This year it is closer to the .300 average at .297. Hitters are making less contact off of Hudson this season, and swinging and missing more as well. The high ERA could be due to the fact that he is allowing more fly balls than at any other point of his career. He is also allowing more home runs per fly ball. A bad combination. Since this also tends to normalize, especially over a career as long as Hudson's, you can say he has been hit by some bad luck.

Hitter to Watch
B.J. Upton

Upton was rumored to be coming to Washington for most of the last season and off-season first as a trade target and secondly as a free agent before he finally chose the Atlanta Braves. To date, Upton has been struggling a lot more than his brother has since they both joined the Braves. Upton is hitting .146/.232/.247 this season. Upton has been hit with a pretty bad BABIP (.204, where the average tends to be .300. Last year he was at .294). But there are more signs that this could be a little more than just bad luck for Upton.

First of all, he is hitting a lot less line drives, which is used to quantify the contact he is getting. He has hit 12.4 per cent line drives this season as opposed to 18.6 last year. He has also seen his strike outs rise from 26.7 to 34.6. This isn't a case of trying to do too much as his swings outside of the strike zone have actually dropped. He has made contact on 7 per cent less of swings at stuff in the zone which is also troubling and finally, his infield fly percentage has skyrocketed from 9 per cent last year to 30 so far this season.


NL East Standings

W L PCT GB STRK
Atlanta 32 21 .603 0 Won 1
Washington 27 27 .500 5.5 Lost 2
Philadelphia 26 28 .481 6.5 Lost 1
New York 22 29 .431 9 Won 5
Miami 13 41 .240 19.5 Lost 9

(updated 5.31.2013 at 4:03 PM EDT)



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