Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves Series Preview (4/11-4/14)
Jhoulys Chacin vs. Gio Gonzalez – 7:05 p.m, MASN2
This offseason, the Braves signed Chacin to a minor league deal. He has been in the majors since 2009 and has played with the Rockies and Diamondbacks over the course of his career. But, he only made five appearances with Arizona last season.
Back in 2013, the 28-year-old right-hander went 14-10 with a 3.47 ERA. While he hasn’t pitched in a Major League game this season, he did get one start at triple-A Gwinnett, where he gave up five hits and struck out seven over 7.2 innings in a win against Norfolk.
According to Fangraphs, Chacin had an average velocity of 88 miles per hour on his fastball and has a cutter, changeup, curveball, and slider in his arsenal. He is 3-2 with a 3.72 ERA in five starts against the Nats in his career. Daniel Murphy is 3-for-9 against him with two RBI’s.
As for Gonzalez, it will be interesting to see how he fares in this game as he has not pitched against Major League competition in a long time. His last start in spring training was back on March 27 against the Braves when he went six innings, gave up two runs on seven hits, and struck out four.
The key for Gonzalez in this game is going to be consistency. Dusty Baker has gone back to his original plan before the season began of putting Gonzalez in between Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg because Gonzalez doesn’t consistently go deep into games. Plus his command is still a concern when you consider he had 12 walks in six spring outings.
Against the Braves last year, Gonzalez was dominant as he was 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA, giving up only two runs in 13 innings of work. Freddie Freeman is 9-for-29 (.310) with two home runs and ten RBI’s against him.
Prediction: While I do think Gonzalez has a decent outing, it’s tough to expect much when you consider the long layoff he will have in between starts. However, this might be a game where the bullpen comes up big for the Nats and gets the win.
Next: Wednesday's Matchup