Game 115 lineups: Nats vs. Braves (Harper scratched)

Following a pair of losses to the second-place Atlanta Braves, the Nationals are again in must-win mode to try to get away to Chicago with a split of the four-game series.

The Nats won the first game of the doubleheader Tuesday 8-3, and with a win in the nightcap and a potential Arizona win, the club could have been just four games out of first place in the National League East. But since that moment the Phillies went 1-2 and the Braves 2-0, so the deficit is back up to six games.

Gonzalez-slings-white-0804-sidebar.jpgThe Nats need to dig down deep and need their veteran southpaw Gio Gonzalez to come up with a gem. Unfortunately for Gonzalez, he has had trouble consistently finding the strike zone recently with his offspeed stuff. In his previous seven starts, Gonzalez has gone 0-4 with a 6.04 ERA with 25 walks in 33 1/3 innings.

In 22 career starts against the Braves, Gonzalez is just 5-11 with a 5.04 ERA. In his only start against the Braves this season, a no decision back on June 2, he went seven innings, allowed three runs on five hits with nine strikeouts and no walks. The Nats won that game 5-3 in 14 innings.

Since June 2, the last and only start for Gonzalez against the Braves this season, the Nats have gone 24-32 and the Braves 28-25. That 5-3 win in 14 was highlighted by a Max Scherzer pinch-hit single and run scored in the 14th. Both teams were 34-24.

The Braves counter with formidable right-hander Aníbal Sánchez (6-3, 2.89 ERA). Since his first season in the bigs, Sánchez has loved facing the Nats, posting a 2.11 ERA. That mark is the best of any starter against the Nats since 2006, and fourth best for any pitcher against an single opponent in the major leagues.

Update: Bryce Harper has been scratched from today’s lineup. He has been hit twice in the knee this week and will get the afternoon off as Michael A. Taylor will take center field.

Update II: Manager Davey Martinez said that Harper’s knee and shin are “pretty swollen”. He said Harper should be available to pinch-hit later in the game.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS vs. ATLANTA BRAVES

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EDT
TV: Facebook Watch, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, MLB.com
Weather: 87 degrees, partly cloudy, 15 percent chance of rain, winds right field to left field 9 mph

NATIONALS
RF Adam Eaton
SS Trea Turner
LF Juan Soto
3B Anthony Rendon
2B Daniel Murphy
1B Ryan Zimmerman
CF Michael A. Taylor
C Matt Wieters
LHP Gio Gonzalez

BRAVES
LF Ronald Acuña Jr.
2B Ozzie Albies
1B Freddie Freeman
RF Nick Markakis
C Kurt Suzuki
3B Charlie Culberson
CF Ender Inciarte
SS Dansby Swanson
RHP Aníbal Sánchez

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