Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats At Braves (9/29-10/1)

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Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Tanner Roark (4-6, 4.76 ERA) vs. Matt Wisler (6-8, 5.40) – 7:10 PM ET, broadcast on MASN

Since taking over for Joe Ross in the starting rotation on September 4, Roark has not been able to record a win in four starts. In his last start against the Orioles on September 24, Roark went five innings, gave up three runs on five hits, struck out one, and walked two on 82 pitches in a no-decision.

The 28-year-old right-hander will be looking to go deep into this game as he has yet to go more than five innings or throw more than 82 pitches in his four starts this month. Against the Braves on September 4, Roark went 4.1 innings, gave up one run on five hits, struck out one, and walked three in a no-decision. If Roark wants to have a good chance at making the 2016 rotation, he’s going to have to put up a good performance against a sub-par lineup.

In 11 games (six starts) in his career against Atlanta, Roark is 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA and he was 1-0 in three starts at Turner Field last season (2.89 ERA). A.J. Pierzynski is 3-for-4 against Roark lifetime with one double and three RBI’s.

While It’s been a mediocre rookie season for Wisler, he did bounce back against the Mets to pick up his first win since July 26 against the Cardinals. In that game on September 22, he went seven innings, gave up two runs on five hits, struck out eight (a career-high) and walked one.

Wisler, who was one of the main pieces in the Craig Kimbrel trade this offseason, is 3-7 in his last 13 games with a 6.44 ERA. However, the 23-year-old has shown some good signs in September. Even though he is 1-3 this month with a 5.96 ERA, the opponents’ batting average of .280 is the second lowest any team has had against him in a month this year (.252 in July).

Against the Nationals this season, Wisler is 1-2 in four games (three starts) with a 7.62 ERA. His last outing against Washington was two hitless innings in relief on September 6. Clint Robinson is 2-for-5 against him with three RBI’s this year.

Advantage: While the Nationals have had some success against Wisler this season, Roark has not been able to give the Nats more than five innings in any start. If that trend continues, I will take the Braves in this one because of the Nats’ short-handed bullpen without Drew Storen or Papelbon. Braves squeak out a win.

Next: Tomorrow's Matchup