Manager: Fredi Gonzalez, fourth year
Last 10 games: 5-4
Who to watch: 1B Freddie Freeman (.419/.514/.677, 2 HR, 5 RBIs); LF Justin Upton (.264/.324/.441, 2 HR, 3 RBIs); RHP Julio Teheran (1-1, 2.77 ERA, 1.15 WHIP); RHP Aaron Harang (1-1, 0.71 ERA, 0.71 WHIP)
Season series vs. Nats: 2-1, 9 runs scored, 5 runs allowed
For the second time in three series, the Braves face the Nats in a meeting of NL East frontunners, but this time in Atlanta. On top of that, the Braves have cooled off significantly since last weekend.
Starting with dropping the finale of the series in Washington, Atlanta has lost three of four since winning four in a row, scoring just nine runs during that stretch. However, Justin Upton showed life on Friday with his first two homers and three RBIs of the season in a loss to the Mets.
The Braves’ pitching has remained strong amid the losing, allowing 14 runs over the last four contests. Atlanta’s starters have permitted just 11 runs in 57 innings for a major league-best 1.74 ERA so far this season.
In this set, the Braves send three of their most intriguing arms to the mound. Opening day starter Julio Teheran (1-1, 2.77 ERA) goes up against Tanner Roark tonight, left-hander Alex Wood (1-1, 1.93 ERA) faces Taylor Jordan on Saturday and surprising veteran Aaron Harang (1-1, 0.71 ERA) takes on Gio Gonzalez in the finale.
You can be sure the Braves and Nats will be taking the next three games as seriously as can be since it will be the last time the division’s top two teams see each other until June 19-22.