Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals Preview

Coming into game three of the four game set this Saturday evening, the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals seemed poised to give us yet another edge-of-seat performance.

Friday’s game saw the Braves move back ahead in the NL East to first place by half a game. But the hard fought; extra innings game saw the Braves reach deep into the rookie bullpen to pull out a win in the 13th inning. Fans got to see the debut of Ryan Buchter and Juan Jaime from the Braves. And an exciting debut it was, with Jaime and Buchter both holding down a scoreless inning, the 11th and 12th respectively.

What to expect Saturday

With a full rivalry in effect, both the Braves and National will be coming out in full force – the Braves to continue punishing and the Nationals for some revenge. For batting, the Braves and Nationals look fairly close on paper with a slight advantage to Washington. Both lineups feature a string of mid .250’s hitters.

The exception would be the Braves’ Tommy La Stella, hitting at a hard .329 average. On the National’s side though, we have both Adam LaRoche, at a respectable .300, and Scott Hairston in reserve at a mind-boggling .357. For perspective, that .357 knocks out Babe Ruth’s average of .342.

Hairston’s been out with an injury this season with a strained left oblique, only just returning to active play in May after missing 26 games. Managers are understandably keeping this powerhouse in reserve, not wanting to risk another injury. But after Friday’s upset, we may get to see what Hairston can do and the Braves should rightly fear him.

On the pitching front

Going by the tape alone, the National’s should have the advantage in pitching. Washington’s Stephen Strasburg is running a 3.24 ERA. Comparing that with Braves’ pitcher Mike Minor with a 4.20 and the difference is significant. However, the Braves now have two battle-tested rookies from Friday’s game they can pull out if they run long into extra innings.

Overall though, these are two superb teams. Game two proved there is more to this competition than the numbers alone. The Braves fought 13 hard innings to pull a win out at the last moment. So, while it is anyone’s game, we can at least predict it will be exciting. And Saturday’s results may well set the tone for what is to come on the last Sunday game.

posted in News No Comments

Comments are closed.