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Braves return home to welcome Nationals to town

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It’s Touki Toussaint Night

MLB: New York Mets at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves are back at Truist Park tonight, and they will face the Washington Nationals for the first of three games.

After an abysmal week of starting pitching performances, the Braves were able to string together two consecutive well-pitched games to take two out of three against the Marlins. With the series victory, the Braves have pulled into a first place tie with the Fish.

Touki Toussaint, one of the culprits of the aforementioned rough week, will get the chance to right the ship against the Nats. His most recent outing, a rocky one against the Yankees, demonstrated a number of things: 1) Despite occasionally otherworldly stuff, he is still an unfinished product; and, 2) Even with the inconsistencies, the Braves seem committed to keeping him in the rotation and letting him figure things out. The upside is high enough to where this is a worthwhile gamble.

Touki is 0-1 on the season, with an unsightly ERA of 7.27 that is still suffering from his first relief outing of the year. As a starter, the ERA sits at 4.91, with a 3.82 FIP and 3.35 xFIP. He has struck out 23 over 17 ⅓ innings against only five walks. His season has been up and down, but the Braves appear to believe in him.

The Braves will face old friend Anibal Sanchez, who has fallen on hard times in 2020 (then again, who hasn’t?). After his resurgent campaign in Atlanta in 2018, and a suitable encore for Washington in 2019, 2020 has seen Sanchez struggle to the tune of a 9.69 ERA | 7.75 FIP. This is due in part to a number of factors - a 20.8% ground ball rate, a 3.46 HR/9 rate, a .395 BABIP against, and an opponents’ average exit velocity of 91.6 MPH, up almost five MPH since last year.

Sanchez will face a Braves offense that has been inconsistent as of late, and is still missing its two main spark plugs in Ronald Acuña, Jr. and Ozzie Albies. Ideally, this will be the last series the Braves are without one, or both, of them. The offense only posted eight runs over the weekend against the Marlins, but perhaps the familiar confines of Truist Park will do the team some good.

Game Date/Time: Monday, August 17, 7:10 p.m. ET

Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgia

TV: Fox Sports Southeast

Streaming: MLB.tv

Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network, La Mejor 1600/1460/1130 AM