Game 62 lineups: Nats at Braves

ATLANTA – The Nationals have escaped the haze that engulfed the Washington, D.C. area and forced a postponement of yesterday’s series finale against the Diamondbacks. Now they find themselves outside downtown Atlanta to take on the Braves for three games, their first against the division leaders since the opening series of the season.

The Nationals enter this weekend having lost seven out of their last nine. For what it’s worth, the Braves also struggled to end May, going through a stretch of losing seven of 11, before turning it around to win six of their last seven, including a three-game sweep of the Mets here this week.

With yesterday’s postponement, Davey Martinez gave his starters an extra day of rest, with Josiah Gray now starting tonight’s opener. The right-hander’s 3.09 ERA is the lowest in the rotation, but he has struggled as of late. He did not complete six innings in any of his last three starts, giving up seven runs over 14 ⅓ innings (4.40 ERA) in the process.

Gray’s worst outing of the year came against these very Braves in his first start, in the Nats’ second game of the season. He gave up five runs and three home runs – including one each to the first two batters he faced – over seven innings while taking a 7-1 loss. In his career, he is 1-2 with a 3.33 ERA and 1.037 WHIP over five starts against Atlanta. He has, though, pitched well here at Truist Park, going 1-0 and allowing just one earned run in 10 innings over two starts.

The Braves are sending 20-year-old right-hander AJ Smith-Shawver to the mound for his first major league start. The Braves' No. 4 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, Smith-Shawver impressed in his big league debut, pitching 2 ⅓ scoreless innings with three strikeouts Sunday against the Diamondbacks. He had a 1.09 ERA, 0.939 WHIP, 12.3 strikeout-per-nine rate and 3.75 strikeout-per-walk rate over seven starts between High-A and Triple-A to begin this season on the Braves farm.

Where: Truist Park
Gametime: 7:20 p.m. EDT
Radio: 106.7 The Fan,
Weather: Sunny, 80 degrees, wind 7 mph out to left-center field

RF Lane Thomas
2B Luis García
DH Joey Meneses
3B Jeimer Candelario
1B Dominic Smith
C Keibert Ruiz
LF Corey Dickerson
SS CJ Abrams
CF Alex Call

RHP Josiah Gray

RF Ronald Acuña Jr.
1B Matt Olson
3B Austin Riley
C Sean Murphy
LF Eddie Rosario
2B Ozzie Albies
DH Marcell Ozuna
SS Orlando Arcia
CF Michael Harris II

RHP AJ Smith-Shawver

Martinez on Robles, Doolittle and La Sorsa
Diamondbacks-Nats postponed

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