Game one of three in Turner Field, Atlanta, GA features:
Joel Hanrahan (4-2, 5.14) vs John Smoltz (12-7, 3.09)
The Atlanta Braves have a 7-5 lead over the Washington Nationals with three of the last six games betwixt the teams to take place over the next 10 days. The two teams have not met since the last time the Nationals traveled through Hotlanta on June 25-27 and the Braves swept the three game series.
John Smoltz pitched five innings of shutout ball in the finale of the series sweep, allowing 5 hits and 1 walk while striking out 7 on the way to a decisive 13-0 Braves win.
Smoltz is (19-11) in 38 starts against the Nationals franchise in the forty-year old right hander's nineteen year career in the Majors, but only (6-5) this season at home in Atlanta where he's given up 81 hits and 26 runs for a 2.70 ERA in 86.2 innings pitched.
Washington starter Joel Hanrahan will be making his seventh start as a big leaguer, during which time he has yet to face Atlanta, and has pitched to a (2-1) record on the road despite getting tapped for 16 runs in 19 innings and allowing 3 home runs and 13 walks with a 7.58 ERA away from RFK.
Ryan Zimmerman and Austin Kearns are two of the few Nationals with respectable numbers against Smoltz, with Zimmerman connecting for 2 doubles and 2 home runs, and 9 RBI's for a .276 ERA in 29 at bats in his two-plus years in the Majors, and Kearns accumulating 7 hits, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR and 3 RBI's with 6 K's in 20 at bats.
Like Scout always quotes Atlanta Manager Bobby Cox saying about John Smoltz, "He's such a good athlete that if he wasn't a pitcher he could probably start in center field for a Major League team," though Scout cautions, "I am of course paraphrasing."
The numbers are not with the Nationals, but that's why they play the games. I'll be tuning in and my brother Scout is on hand to take in the first of three below the big scoreboard...
...Anyone watching? Anyone?...