Series preview: vs. Nationals
When (TV): 7:35 p.m. Friday (WPCH); 4:05 p.m. Saturday (WPCH); 8:05 p.m. Sunday (ESPN)
Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5
Probable starting pitchers:
Friday: Braves RH Tim Hudson (3-1, 3.30 ERA) vs. LH Ross Detwiler (3-3, 3.65)
Saturday: Braves LH Mike Minor (2-4, 6.96) vs. RH Stephen Strasburg (4-1, 2.21)
Sunday: Braves RH Brandon Beachy (5-2, 1.77) vs. LH Gio Gonzalez (6-1, 1.98)
About the Braves:
Batting: Entering Thursday, the Braves had hit only .158 (25-for-158) while averaging 1.8 runs per game during a 1-4 stretch. They scored four of their five runs in the first three games at Great American Ballpark via solo home runs. Freddie Freeman was hitting .164 (9-for-55) in 15 games since the dry air in Colorado began bothering his eyes. Martin Prado is hitting .389 (21-for-54) against left-handers.
Pitching: Hudson is on a dominant trajectory, going seven or more innings in each of his past three starts, including 7 2/3 shutout innings his last time out against Tampa. The Braves have won four of his five starts since Hudson’s return from back surgery. He is 14-3 with a 2.05 ERA in 23 career starts against the Nationals, including 4-1 with a 2.64 ERA against them last season.
Miscellaneous: The Braves went 9-9 against the Nationals last year and lost two out of three at Nationals Park Sept. 23-25 in a key series loss during their September collapse.
About the Nationals:
Batting: Former Brave Adam LaRoche is fourth in the NL with 33 RBIs, not bad when his team considered a run at free agent first baseman Prince Fielder over the winter. LaRoche also leads the Nats in batting average (.297), home runs (eight) and on-base percentage (.392). Rookie Bryce Harper is hitting .267 (24-for-90) with six doubles, three triples, two home runs and nine RBIs since his call-up. The Nats are 25th in the majors with 163 runs scored.
Pitching: The Nationals lead the majors with a 2.90 ERA as a staff, and their starters lead the majors with a 2.71 ERA. All five of their starters have ERAs under 4.00. Detwiler is 1-0 with a 3.26 ERA in six career games (three starts) against the Braves. He started against them last Sept. 25, pitching six shutout innings on four hits. Baltimore got him for six runs in five innings, including two homers, his last time out May 19. He’s lasted only five innings each of his past two starts while allowing 11 runs (10 earned).
Miscellaneous: Among the long list of injured Nationals players are right fielder Jayson Werth, out until August with a broken wrist, and catcher Wilson Ramos, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament.