Aug 29, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Nationals pitcherJordan Zimmermann
(27) throws against the Seattle Mariners during the fourth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
After last night’s thrilling 2-1 victory over the Braves, the Nationals look to earn their first series win of the season against Atlanta tonight at Nationals Park. Prior to this week’s crucial series between the NL East foes, the Braves had won nine of the 13 games played between the two teams this season. But circumstances have changed since the Braves’ early-season dominance of the Nationals.
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Over the course of the second half, the Nationals have emerged as the team to beat in the National League. Washington is tied for the best record in the NL and leads the Braves by eight games in the NL East with only 20 games left to play.
Atlanta, on the other hand, has struggled with a streaky offense that often wastes brilliant pitching performances from starters. The Braves have all but fallen out of contention in the NL East and are slipping in the NL Wild Card Race, where they currently trail the Pirates by a game and a half for the second Wild Card spot
All that said, there’s still plenty of baseball to be played in 2014 and the Nationals still have to prove that they can consistently beat their arch rivals from the south. Needless to say, a series win would go a long way in accomplishing that feat, and that is exactly what the Nationals look to do tonight.
Jordan Zimmermann (10-5, 2.93 ERA) gets the start for the Nationals as he looks to continue his second-half dominance. Zimmermann pitched well his last time out, allowing just two runs on four hits while striking out eight over 6 1/3 innings Wednesday against the Dodgers. The Nationals’ right-hander has allowed only two runs in each of his last three starts and has allowed more than three runs only twice in his last 10 starts.
In his career against the Braves, Zimmermann is 3-2 with a 2.92 ERA and 51 strikeouts over 52 1/3 innings.
The Braves will counter with right-hander Ervin Santana (14-7, 3.61 ERA). Santana has pitched well for the Braves of late, going 7-1 with a 2.94 ERA in his last 10 starts. The Braves’ right-hander is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 39 career innings pitched against the Nationals.
Prior to tonight’s game, the Nationals are 81-61 on the season and the magic number to clinch the NL East is at 12 games.
Here are the lineups for tonight’s game:
Atlanta Braves @ Washington Nationals, 7:05 P.M. ET
- CF: Emilio Bonifacio
- 2B: Philip Gosselin
- 1B: Freddie Freeman
- LF: Justin Upton
- RF: Jason Heyward
- 3B: Chris Johnson
- C: Christian Bethancourt
- SS: Andrelton Simmons
- SP: Ervin Santana