Braves at Nationals
The Washington Nationals already have clinched the National League East title, and Max Scherzer gets the start for Wednesday’s home contest against the Atlanta Braves looking to sharpen himself heading into the postseason. The Nationals hope to chase down the Dodgers for home-field advantage in the NL, but the Braves dominated the series opener Tuesday in an 8-0 victory that marked Atlanta’s fifth victory in eight games at Washington this season.
The Braves pounced on Washington in the first game of the series, collecting nine extra-base hits among their 14 hits in the victory. Rookie second baseman Ozzie Albies finished with three hits in the opener, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. In a losing cause, Washington first baseman Ryan Zimmerman recorded two hits and is hitting .343 in 10 games in September. The Nationals fell Tuesday for just the second time in their past eight games.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Atlanta), MASN (Washington)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Braves LH Luiz Gohara (0-1, 13.50 ERA) vs. Nationals RH Max Scherzer (14-5, 2.32)
Gohara makes his second major-league start after losing his debut, in which he allowed six runs in four innings Sept. 6 against Texas. The 21-year-old struggled with his control, walking four hitters, but struck out six. Acquired from Seattle in an offseason trade, Gohara went 7-4 with a 2.62 ERA at three stops in the Atlanta minor leagues in 2017.
Scherzer again is a favorite for the NL Cy Young, starting the week leading the NL with 239 strikeouts and topping the majors in WHIP (0.875) and hits per nine innings (5.6). He is 6-0 in his past 12 starts – Washington is 10-2 in that stretch – while striking out 94 in 70 2/3 innings with 21 earned runs allowed. The 33-year-old is 1-1 in three starts with a 3.20 ERA against Atlanta this season, striking out 23 with seven walks in 19 2/3 innings.
1. Washington hopes OF Jayson Werth, who has missed the past five games with a sore left shoulder, can play Wednesday.
2. Atlanta struggled mightily after reaching .500 in mid-July, but has won five of its past six games and is 6-5 in September.
3. Braves 1B Freddie Freeman is 8-for-18 in his past four games with two homers, four runs scored and five RBIs.