Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves Series Preview (4/11-4/14)
Matt Wisler (0-0, 5.40) vs. Stephen Strasburg (1-0, 1.50) – 7:05 p.m, MASN2
Wisler is in his second full season in the Majors after being traded to Atlanta from the Padres before the 2015 season in the Craig Kimbrel. Last season, the 23-year-old right-hander went 8-8 with a 4.71 in 20 games and he went 3-7 over his final 11 starts.
In his first start of this season against the Cardinals on Friday, Wisler went 6.2 innings, gave up four runs on seven hits, struck out six, and walked one on 91 pitches (61 strikes). However, he got the no-decision as the Cardinals rallied from a 4-0 deficit.
Against the Nationals last year, he was 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA in five games (four starts). The problem for Wisler was his command as he walked 11 Nats over the course of 20 innings. In those outings last season, Clint Robinson was 2-for-8, but he had three RBI’s.
Strasburg made his 2016 debut last Wednesday against the Braves at Turner Field. While he didn’t have a high strikeout total (four), the important thing was that he got out of some jams early and held Atlanta off the scoreboard for most of the night. He went six innings, gave up one run on six hits, struck out four, and walked three on 88 pitches (57 strikes). Plus, he got some help from some good plays defensively by Michael Taylor.
The one thing that was interesting about Strasburg’s last start was it appeared that he had a new pitch in his arsenal, a slider. Plus, in that outing, he passed Jordan Zimmermann, his former teammate, to become the pitcher with the most career strikeouts in the short history of the franchise.
If you include his two outings against the Braves last year, Strasburg has given up just that one run to Atlanta. Freeman is 12-for-31 (.387) against him with three home runs and nine RBI’s.
Prediction: It will be interesting to watch how Strasburg continues to use his slider as the season progresses. I would expect the Nationals to work the count against Wisler and pick up some early runs as they get Strasburg his second win of the young season.
Next: Thursday's Matchup