Series preview: Braves vs. Nationals
When (TV): 7:35 p.m. Friday (WPCH), 4:05 p.m. Saturday (Fox), 8:05 p.m. Sunday (ESPN)
Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5
Probable starting pitchers:
Friday: Braves RH Kris Medlen (8-1, 1.64 ERA) vs. LH Ross Detwiler (9-6, 3.23)
Saturday: Braves RH Tommy Hanson (12-8, 4.35) vs. RH Edwin Jackson (9-10, 3.85)
Sunday: Braves LH Mike Minor (8-10, 4.42) vs. LH Gio Gonzalez (19-7, 2.93)
About the Braves:
Batting: Michael Bourn has hit .177 (14-for-79) with one extra-base hit, five runs, 21 strikeouts and a .495 OPS in his past 22 games…. Freddie Freeman has hit .196 (19-for-97) with four homers and a .687 OPS in his past 28 games…. Chipper Jones is 15-for-65 (.231) with more errors (three) than extra-base hits (two) in his past 19 games…. While many Braves have struggled lately, Martin Prado has hit .308 with 14 extra-base hits (four HRs), 19 RBIs and an .826 OPS in his past 31 games.
Pitching: Medlen has won six consecutive starts and is 7-0 with a 0.81 ERA in eight since moving from the bullpen. He’s 12-0 with 2.64 ERA in 22 starts since the beginning of 2010, and 13-0 in his past 24 starts dating to 2009. The only other current big-league pitcher to have a streak of more than 20 starts without a loss is Jose Contreras, who’s on the Phillies’ 60-day DL. He went 17-0 in 24 starts for the White Sox over a span in 2005-2006…. Medlen is 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA in 10 games against the Nationals including one start. He pitched seven scoreless innings (seven hits, one walk, seven strikeouts) in an Aug. 22 win against them…. Minor is 2-2 with a 5.26 ERA in five career starts against the Nationals, and Tommy Hanson is 3-3 with a 4.27 ERA in 11 starts against them.
Miscellaneous: The Braves have won 19 consecutive starts by Medlen; the last team to win at least 19 consecutive starts by a pitcher was the 2001 Yankees, who won 20 in a row by Roger Clemens…. Against Detwiler, Prado is 11-for-19 and Reed Johnson is 5-for-9 with a homer, while Bourn is 1-for-13 and Dan Uggla is 0-for-8…. Jason Heyward is 18-for-58 (.310) with two homers and a .403 OBP in 15 games vs. Washington in 2012.
About the Nationals:
Batting: Ryan Zimmerman has hit .339 with 36 extra-base hits (17 homers), 53 RBIs and a 1.023 OPS in his past 65 games, and is 23-for-64 (.359) with four homers and 15 RBIs in 15 games vs. the Braves…. Adam LaRoche has hit .279 with 10 homers, 30 RBIs and an .862 OPS in his past 40 games, including .378 with six homers and 11 RBIs in 12 games this month.
Pitching: Detwiler is 5-3 with a 3.14 ERA in 14 starts since returning to the rotation, including 1-2 with a 4.54 ERA in six road starts. Lifetime against the Braves, he’s 2-1 with a 3.59 ERA in 10 games (seven starts). Left-handed batters have a puny .146 average and .481 OPS this season against Detwiler, while righties have hit .267 with a .720 OPS…. Jackson is 0-1 with a 3.21 ERA in six games (four starts) vs. the Braves, and Gonzalez is 2-1 with a 4.86 ERA in three starts against them.
Miscellaneous: Since the All-Star break, the Nationals lead the NL with a .278 average and rank second in runs (299) and OBP (.336). The Braves are 14th in average (.236), ninth in runs (244) and eighth in OBP (.320)…. Washington leads the NL with a 3.28 overall ERA, including a league-best 3.31 ERA by starters. The bullpen’s 3.23 ERA ranks fifth in the NL, two spots behind Atlanta’s 2.98…. The Nationals are 10-5 vs the Braves, including four wins in the past five games. They’ve held Atlanta to two runs or fewer in five of 15 games, including three of the past five.
By David O’Brien