Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats vs. Braves (9/3-9/6)

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Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Manny Banuelos (1-3, 3.33) vs. Joe Ross (5-5, 3.50) – 1:35 PM ET, MASN

On Sunday afternoon, Banuelos will be making the sixth start of his career after making his Major League debut last month. In his last start against the Marlins on September 1, he went 2.2 innings, gave up three runs on six hits, walked one, and did not strike out anybody in a loss.

The one thing that will help the Nationals’ offense in this game is that Banuelos only threw 52 pitches in this game, which could cause Atlanta to go to their bullpen earlier than expected. According to Fangraphs, he has a fastball that averages 89 miles per hour, a changeup, breaking ball, and slider.

If you remember, the 24-year-old left-hander’s first start was against the Nats on July 2. In that game, Banuelos went 5.2 innings, gave up two hits, struck out seven, and did not walk a batter. The only two Nats to have hits in that game were Denard Span and Wilson Ramos.

The problem for Joe Ross in his last outing was his lack of command. Against the Cardinals on September 1, Ross went 2.2 innings (shortest outing of his career), gave up three runs on one hit, struck out three, and walked six on 68 pitches. Ross would get a no-decision in the game, but ended up wasting a 3-0 lead the Nats gave him early in the game.

After that outing, the 22-year-old said he did not use the rosin bag, which caused him to not be able to grip the baseball. In addition to that, his innings limit is fast approaching as Ross is at 145.1 innings if you count his minor league numbers. He has yet to face the Braves in his career.

Advantage: This could be another game that is high scoring because neither starter threw 70 pitches in their last outing. Both of these pitchers are trying to make their case to be in the rotation next season. If it comes down to offense, I will take the Nats to hang on in this game and win three out of four in this series.

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