Series preview: at Nationals
When (TV): 7:05 p.m. Friday (WPCH); 4:05 p.m. Saturday (WPCH); 1:35 p.m. Sunday (FSSO)
Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5
Probable starting pitchers:
Friday: Braves LH Mike Minor (2-4, 6.98 ERA) vs. RH Stephen Strasburg (5-1, 2.64)
Saturday: Braves RH Brandon Beachy (5-3, 1.77) vs. LH Gio Gonzalez (7-1, 2.04)
Sunday: Braves RH Tommy Hanson (5-4, 3.84) vs. RH Jordan Zimmermann (3-5, 2.80)
About the Braves:
Batting: Freddie Freeman went 3-for-5 with a home run and a double in his first game back with new sport glasses on Wednesday. Jose Constanza is 4-for-7 in two games since being called up from Triple-A. Brian McCann went 1-for-12 in the Braves last homestand until going 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs against the Cardinals on Wednesday.
Pitching: Minor is winless in his past seven starts, going 0-3 with a 9.08 ERA, while allowing 13 home runs in 37 2/3 innings. Minor gave up a three-run home run to Danny Espinosa in the second inning last Saturday against the Nationals to give his team another early deficit. He came away with a no-decision after Dan Uggla homered off Strasburg to tie it 4-4.
Miscellaneous: The Braves are 14-22 at Nationals Park since it opened in 2008. The Braves called up slick-fielding shortstop Andrelton Simmons from Double-A Mississippi and he’ll make his major league debut Friday night.
About the Nationals:
Batting: The Nationals went 2-for-19 with runners in scoring position and scored only seven runs in three losses to the Marlins. Steve Lombardozzi is hitting .325 (13-for-40) with three doubles and three RBIs over his past 12 games. Rookie outfielder Bryce Harper went 5-for-11 (.455) with two homers, two RBIs in the three-game sweep over the Braves last weekend.
Pitching: Strasburg won for the first time in three career starts against the Braves last Saturday but he wasn’t sharp. He gave up four runs in five innings, walked four, while throwing 95 pitches. He’s 1-2 with a 5.38 ERA in three starts against the Braves. Hard-throwing reliever Henry Rodriguez slammed his finger in a bathroom door but could be available again on Friday.
Miscellaneous: After sweeping the Braves last weekend, the Nationals were swept in three games by the scorching Miami Marlins, who finished May 21-8. The Nationals’ lead in the NL East is down to ½ game over the Marlins and two games over the Braves.