Seven games have passed since the Braves and Nats faced off in Atlanta: the Braves have gone 4-3, the Nats 5-2 and yet they're still looking up at the Braves (and if there's any justice in this world, it'll stay that way) as the two teams square off again, this time in DC.
Washington has been playing well ever since...you know, "this"...happened (don't click if you don't want to relive painful memories), winning three of four from the Mets in New York and two of three against Miami. Despite this, they are still one-half game behind the Braves and tied for third with the Marlins in the NL East. They also still don't have Anthony Rendon, who was reported to have an oblique strain in addition to his sprained knee that he's rehabbing; that also means we'll potentially be seeing more of you know who (yes, he's still with the team). Jayson Werth is also a question mark for Friday's game after missing the last two games due to shoulder soreness.
Wilson Ramos brings an 11-game hitting streak into this series, a streak that's raised his average to .319 on the year. Yunel Escobar had a five-hit game against Miami on Monday, helping to bump his average over .300.
I suppose I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention
Bruce Hooper Bryce Harper. He did something important, I guess? Outside of that, he's been mostly a nonfactor the last seven games, and only had three hits and one RBI in the Atlanta series.
Atlanta sends Eric Stults against Gio Gonzalez in the opener. On paper, this favors Washington, and Gonzalez has pitched well of late, but the Braves have owned Gonzalez: 0-7 in his last eight starts against them with a 5.32 ERA; Stults beat Washington 8-4 two starts ago.
Julio Teheran returned to form in his last start against Cincinnati, so whatever was ailing him before has apparently been fixed; he'll oppose Doug Fister, whom the Braves beat up on in Atlanta, on Saturday. Alex Wood goes for Atlanta opposite Jordan Zimmermann in the finale. Wood needs to get his act together; we know he's a better pitcher than what he's shown, especially over his last two starts.
Friday, April 8, 7:05 p.m. ET
ATL: Eric Stults
2015: 1-2 W-L, 4.91 ERA, 7 BB, 15 K
Last start: 7 IP, 11 hits, 6 ER, 2 HR, 1 BB, 2 K (L)
WAS: Gio Gonzalez
2015: 2-2 W-L, 3.86 ERA, 13 BB, 31 K
Last start: 7 IP, 6 hits, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K (W)
Saturday, April 9, 4:05 p.m. ET
ATL: Julio Teheran
2015: 3-1 W-L, 3.82 ERA, 14 BB, 28 K
Last start: 6 IP, 3 hits, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K (W)
WAS: Doug Fister
2015: 2-1 W-L, 2.61 ERA, 9 BB, 14 K
Last start: 6.1 IP, 5 hits, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (W)
Sunday, April 10, 1:35 p.m. ET
ATL: Alex Wood
2015: 1-2 W-L, 4.32 ERA, 13 BB, 24 K
Last start: 4.1 IP, 9 hits, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K (L)
WAS: Jordan Zimmermann
2015: 2-2 W-L, 4.15 ERA, 6 BB, 22 K
Last start: 7 IP, 6 hits, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K (ND)