The Atlanta Braves finally ended their winless series streak over the weekend by sweeping the New York Mets in three games. By doing that, the Braves cut into the Mets' 3.5-game lead over them into a minuscule half-game.
Unfortunately, no ground was made up on the Nationals, as they completed an impressive three-game sweep of their own over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The series was highlighted by fantastic pitching by Washington. They gave up just three runs, and Max Scherzer no-hit the Pirates on Saturday. They outscored the Pirates 19-3 in the series.
The Nats now stand at 37-33, while the Braves are at 35-35. This sets up a potentially huge series in the standings with Washington having the potential to either go five games up, or one game down.
Since winning the first meeting of the year, the Braves have dropped five straight games against the Nationals. They've allowed 48 runs in that stretch. Atlanta has also lost seven of the last eight games played in Washington. Unlike previous years when the Braves dominated the Nationals for the most part, Bryce Harper has killed Atlanta thus far in 2015. Like Eric's article says, we can now hate Bryce Harper for right reasons, too. He's .455 with three home runs and nine RBI's in the six games played against the Braves this year.
In Tuesday night's game, Stephen Strasburg will be returning from the DL to face his favorite team. In 17 career starts against the Braves, Strasburg is 4-7 with a 4.24 ERA. His numbers are much better at home, but he's struggled to find much success against Atlanta. Before going to the DL, Strasburg was having his worst season of his career. In ten starts, he's 3-5 with a 6.55 ERA. Numbers suggest he's gotten a bit unlucky due to a .389n BABIP and 3.97 FIP. There are some concerning numbers including a career low strikeout percentage, a high increase in line drive percentage, and he's throwing his four seam more than ever, while it's getting hit more than ever. His four seam is currently at -6.8 runs above average. Strasburg will face Alex Wood in the contest. Wood had a nice start last time out against Boston after he struggled in his previous two starts.
In the second game of the series, Jordan Zimmermann will face Shelby Miller. Miller has a 0.73 ERA against the Nationals in four career starts. Zimmermann has struggles heavily over his last three outings. In 15.1 innings, he's allowed 27 hits and 13 runs.
In game three, Matt Wisler will take the mound for the second time of his career to face Doug Fister. As we know, Wisler was sensational in his first outing, and he'll draw a tough challenge to duplicate it against the Nationals' lineup. Fister has only face the Braves twice in his career, and he hasn't been good against them. He'll be making his second start since returning from the DL. He allowed five runs and nine hits in 5.1 innings in his first start back.
Tuesday, June 23, 7:05 p.m. ET
ATL: Alex Wood
2015: 13 starts, 4-4, 3.40 ERA, 3.40 FIP, 2.84 BB/9, 6.81 K/9
WAS: Stephen Strasburg
2015: 10 starts, 3-5, 6.55 ERA, 3.97 FIP, 2.78 BB/9, 8.93 K/9
Wednesday, June 24, 7:05 p.m. ET
ATL: Shelby Miller
2015: 14 starts, 5-3, 1.99 ERA, 3.27 FIP, 2.79 BB/9, 6.78 K/9
WAS: Jordan Zimmermann
2015: 14 starts, 5-5, 3.75 ERA, 3.20 FIP, 2.04 BB/9, 6.43 K/9
Thursday, June 25, 4:05 p.m. ET
ATL: Matt Wisler
2015: 1 start, 1-0, 1.13 ERA, 2.98 FIP, 0.00 BB/9, 2.25 K/9
WAS: Doug Fister
2015: 8 starts, 2-3, 4.80 ERA, 4.64 FIP, 2.00 BB/9, 4.20 K/9