ATLANTA - The Nationals turn to Austin Voth to help get them on the board in their crucial four-game series against the Braves. The right-hander will be making his fifth start of the season tonight at SunTrust Park, and first since July 16. In that win over the Orioles, Voth allowed one run on four hits over six innings.
Voth had looked at video prior to that start in attempt to get better command and velocity on his fastball glove side. It worked.
“I (couldn’t) throw away to righties and in to lefties,” Voth explained to me in Baltimore after the win. “I was having trouble kind of sticking that pitch. We went back and looked at video and we looked at some mechanical sequences of what I’ve been doing the beginning of the season and then what I’ve been doing now and it was almost like I wasn’t getting grounded.
“My left leg, my plant leg when I go to land, I was already turning with my upper body before I’m landed, so I’m losing my power and my momentum with my lower half. It’s just completely gone. But as soon as I get that foot down and then I start rotating, that’s when you create your torque, and your power comes from your hips and legs.”
Voth (1-0, 3.91 ERA) learned that the timing of planting his foot first and then bringing the full force of his body to the plate helped improve his mechanics.
“I have a strong front side,” Voth said. “I am really aggressive with my front side. Sometimes I get too aggressive, and that’s when I’m pulling too early when I need to stick my front leg down first and then start to rotate.”
Right bicep tendinitis shut him down for a while but then Voth returned with 2 1/3 shutout innings Sept. 2 against the Mets. Voth hopes to pick up where he left off tonight in a big start against Atlanta. Voth replaces Joe Ross, who is out with a right forearm strain. Voth is 0-0 with a 2.57 ERA in two games (one start) versus the Braves, allowing only a pair of solo shots to Ronald Acuña Jr. and Josh Donaldson in seven innings of work.
The Braves send right-hander Julio Teheran (9-8, 3.38 ERA) to the bump. He is 4-2 with a 2.70 ERA since the All-Star break, and 1-0 with a 2.19 ERA in two starts against the Nats this season.
The Nats have lost ground in their chase of the Braves atop the division following close losses of 4-2 and 4-3 to begin this series.
“They’re going to stay in the fight,” said Nationals manager Davey Martinez.” They’re going to keep playing and this thing will turn around. We got a good ball club. It’ll turn around. We’ll start hitting again, start taking our walks again. Start making the right pitches and this will turn around.”
The Nationals get some good news as right fielder Adam Eaton returns to the lineup for his first start since Sept. 2. He has been nursing a deep knee bruise.
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at ATLANTA BRAVES
Where: SunTrust Park
Gametime: 7:20 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, MLB.com, XM 189 (Nationals version XM 869)
Weather: Mostly sunny, 90 degrees, winds in from left field at 10 mph
SS Trea Turner
RF Adam Eaton
3B Anthony Rendon
LF Juan Soto
2B Asdrúbal Cabrera
1B Ryan Zimmerman
CF Victor Robles
C Yan Gomes
RHP Austin Voth
CF Ronald Acuña Jr.
2B Ozzie Albies
1B Freddie Freeman
3B Josh Donaldson
C Brian McCann
RF Matt Joyce
LF Austin Riley
SS Adeiny Hechavarría
RHP Julio Teheran