What to Watch for: 7/20
Atlanta Braves (50-41) vs. Washington Nationals (53-37)
RHP Tommy Hanson (10-5, 4.02) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (10-4, 2.66)
The Nationals are coming off another series win that saw them take two-of-three from the New York Mets earlier this week. They face an Atlanta team that sits 3.5 games back in second place as the teams open a crucial four-game series over the next three days in D.C.
The Nationals and Braves begin a series tonight that is scheduled to include four games in a 48-hour period from Friday at 7:05 p.m. through Sundy at 1:35 p.m. A June 1 rainout necessitated Saturday’s day/night doubleheader, which will include John Lannan’s 2012 debut and Ben Sheets’ second start with the Braves. Washington leads the season series, 6-2, and has outscored Atlanta, 44-28 along the way.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, STRAS!
On his 24th birthday, starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg will make his fourth start against Atlanta in 2012. The righty is 2-1 with a 4.20 ERA (7 ER/15.0 IP) against the Braves so far this season. Strasburg looks to build on his six shutout innings in his last start, 7/15 at Miami, in which he allowed just six hits and one walk in a 4-0 Nationals victory.
NL EAST FEAST
Including a 9-4 mark at home, Washington is 20-12 (.625) overall against NL East foes this season (6-2 vs. ATL, 4-5 vs. MIA, 6-3 vs. NYM, 4-2 vs. PHI). The Nationals .625 intradivision winning percentage is MLB’s best, despite having played 19 of their 32 NL East tilts on the road.