National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, May 1st
(All times Eastern)
Washington Nationals (13-14) at Atlanta Braves (17-9), 7:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Washington - Jordan Zimmermann (4-1, 2.00)
Atlanta - Paul Maholm (3-2, 3.30)
(Sports Network) - All the Atlanta Braves needed to break out of their funk
was a visit from the Washington Nationals.
The Braves have won nine straight against their NL East rivals and can earn a
series win with a victory tonight in the continuation of a four-game set at
Prior to this series, the Braves were riding a four-game losing streak and
snapped the slide with Monday's 3-2 win. Tim Hudson then took the mound
Tuesday in search of his 200th career win and came through with seven strong
innings in an 8-1 decision, allowing one run and three hits. He also homered
and finished 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored.
"It was just one of those nights," said Hudson. "The stars aligned and I guess
it was meant to be. You rarely have the chance to accomplish something like
this and hit a home run. Our team is in first place and we're playing some
pretty good baseball. Things are good."
Freddie Freeman and Andrelton Simmons each went 3-for-5, with Freeman adding
three RBI and Simmons connecting on his second homer of the season to go with
three runs scored. Evan Gattis had two hits and two runs batted in for
Atlanta, which is 4 1/2 games ahead of Washington for the division lead.
In other news, Braves catcher Brian McCann is progressing after undergoing
right shoulder surgery and could be back in the lineup next week. McCann is
working his way back in the minor leagues.
"I'll be ready," McCann said. "Where I'm at right now, I feel really good."
Atlanta hopes starter Paul Maholm can revert back to his early dominant ways
when he gets the nod versus the Nationals. Maholm started 3-0 with a 0.00
earned run average, but has lost back-to-back starts, allowing a total of 11
runs in that time. His streak ended April 20 at Pittsburgh with six innings of
three-run ball and continued in Friday's 10-0 loss at Detroit.
Maholm, who has made four straight road starts, was tagged for eight runs and
10 hits in 3 2/3 innings against the Tigers. His ERA is now 3.30. The lefty
beat Washington with 7 2/3 shutout innings on April 14 in a 9-0 triumph and is
just 2-6 with a 4.91 ERA in 11 career starts against the Nationals.
The Nationals are back under the .500 mark and have lost seven of 10 games. In
Tuesday's loss at Turner Field, Wilson Ramos was credited with the lone RBI
and the club produced only three hits to Atlanta's 12.
Gio Gonzalez drew the start and the left-hander failed to get his team on
track by giving up five runs and seven hits with nine K's in four innings. The
loss dropped Gonzalez to 2-2 on the season.
"Today is one of those things you just can't explain," Gonzalez said. "You
either attack the strike zone or you don't. You get nine strikeouts then five
walks. They make some good contact and then they get broken-bat hits. It's
just one of those games you just can't explain."
Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth was not in the starting lineup due to a
balky left ankle and right hamstring.
"I originally wanted to play if I could, but after talking to (manager) Davey
(Johnson), I don't think I had a chance to play either way," Werth told the
club's website. "I think I'm auditioning for tomorrow. I'm pretty sore, but I
don't think it will be a big deal."
Jordan Zimmermann will be tasked with trying to slow down the Braves when he
takes the mound for Washington Wednesday. Zimmermann is a solid 4-1 in five
starts to go along with a 2.00 earned run average and is coming off a one-hit
shutout of the Cincinnati Reds on Friday. Zimmermann struck out four and
issued one walk in the 1-0 victory.
"He pitches his butt off every time he goes out there," Nationals outfielder
Bryce Harper said of Zimmermann. "He is a competitor, he uses his fastball
really well and he throws a lot of strikes. You are going to get a great
performance out of him every night."
The Nats hope the right-hander can solve the Braves, a club he is 2-1 against
in five career starts with a 3.81 ERA.
Atlanta swept the three-game series a few weeks ago at Nationals Park.
05/01 10:29:35 ET