What to Watch For: 9/16
Washington Nationals (89-56) vs. Atlanta Braves (83-63)
LHP Gio Gonzalez (19-7, 2.93) vs. LHP Mike Minor (8-10, 4.42)
Gio Gonzalez has a chance to become the first 20-game winner in the Major Leagues this season and the first ever in Nationals history as Washington looks to salvage the finale of their three-game set in Atlanta and head home with a winning road trip. The game is being televised nationally for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, with first pitch at 8:05 p.m.
1. Werth RF
2. Harper CF
3. Zimmerman 3B
4. LaRoche 1B
5. Desmond SS
6. Espinosa 2B
7. Moore LF
8. Suzuki C
9. Gonzalez LHP
VIEW FROM THE TOP
The Nationals own MLB’s best winning percentage at .614 thanks in part to a 40-22 (.645) mark since the All-Star break. Washington currently owns 2.5- and 3.0-game leads over the Reds and Rangers, respectively, in the race for the best record in Major League Baseball. The Nationals have either led the NL East or shared the top spot for 149 of the season’s 159 days. Only the Rangers (156) have enjoyed more days atop of their division in ‘12.
KEEPING SCORE ON THE SEASON
The Nationals currently pace MLB in run differential. The top 3: Washington (+132), Texas (+122), New York (AL) (+95). Washington has also allowed the fewest runs (520) in MLB.
Nineteen year-old Bryce Harper’s 19 homers hit as a teen are tied for second on the all-time list with Hall-of-Famer Mel Ott. Only a teenaged Tony Conigliaro (24) hit more. Harper turns 20 on October 16.