National League Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, June 2nd (All times eastern)
Atlanta Braves (28-24) at Washington Nationals (29-21), 4:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Atlanta - Brandon Beachy (5-3, 1.77) Washington - Stephen Strasburg (5-1, 2.64)
(Sports Network) - Stephen Strasburg got an extra day of rest for the Nationals. The Braves used last night's rainout to skip Mike Minor in the rotation in favor of Brandon Beachy.
The two hurlers, both with sub-3.00 ERAs, match up this afternoon when Atlanta and Washington meet in what's now a two-game series in the nation's capital.
Strasburg, who has won three of his last four starts, is coming off last Saturday's 8-4 win at Atlanta in which he held on for a win despite yielding four runs in five innings. Strasburg has lasted just five innings or less in each of his past three outings and owns a 5-1 mark and a 2.64 ERA in 10 starts.
Strasburg is 2-1 in five trips to the Nationals Park mound this season and hopes to even his 1-2 career mark in three starts against the Braves.
The right-handed Strasburg could get some offensive support with the possible return of outfielder Michael Morse, who has been sidelined with a strained left lat muscle suffered during spring training. Morse led the Nationals with 31 homers and 95 RBI in 2011.
Beachy has dropped his last two starts, but has pitched exceptionally well this year, aside from allowing three homers in a May 22 loss at Cincinnati. He's 1-2 with a 4.71 ERA in four career games vs. the Nationals.
Amazingly, just 2 1/2 games separate the top and bottom teams in the NL East. Atlanta, which is two behind division-leading Washington, has posted back-to- back wins since losing a season-high eight in a row and won its recent series in St. Louis. After squeezing out a 5-4 win on Tuesday, Atlanta recorded a 10-7 triumph in the series finale behind home runs from Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman. McCann ended with four RBI and Freeman, who returned from a four-game absence because of an eye issue, collected three hits, three RBI and two runs scored.
"Everyone is going to go through a stretch like that during the season. ... But we bounced back like a winning team does," said Freeman, who needed a special pair of sports goggles to help with his peripheral vision.
Washington went 5-4 on a recent road trip and lost all three games in Miami, including Wednesday's 5-3 setback at Marlins Park. Chien-Ming Wang's first start of the season didn't go as planned and he was reached for four runs and seven hits in four innings to suffer the loss.
"I'm kind of disappointed in myself today for my performance," Wang said through his translator on the team's website. "I'm going to try to make adjustments in the coming days."
The Nationals have won five straight games against the Braves, dating back to last season.
06/02 10:33:06 ET