The Atlanta Braves fell in extra innings to the Washington Nationals Friday night 8-7 after putting together another ninth inning comeback. The Braves had plenty of opportunities as they left 22 men on base in the loss. Despite the setback, they enter Saturday with a 2.5 game lead in the NL East over the Philadelphia Phillies who split a doubleheader against the Marlins Friday.
There are two major storylines for Atlanta coming into Saturday’s game in Washington. The biggest involves the health of Ronald Acuña Jr. who left Friday’s loss in the fourth inning after fouling a ball off his ankle. The situation appeared to be bleak as Acuña went to the ground and had to be helped off the field. However, the Braves later announced that X-rays on Acuña’s ankle came back negative and that he was considered day-to-day. Brian Snitker added in his postgame address that Acuña was able to walk on the ankle after some time in the clubhouse. It remains to be seen whether he will be in Saturday’s lineup but the Braves need him back as soon as possible.
The other story is the Braves pitching staff and how they might piece things together Saturday after a 12 inning game on Friday. Josh Tomlin lasted just four innings in Friday’s start and Brian Snitker was forced to use seven relievers in the game although Tyler Matzek was the only one to throw more than an inning. Ian Anderson will be making his fourth career start Saturday and is looking to bounce back from a rough outing last time out.
After throwing six innings in his first two starts against the Yankees and Red Sox, Anderson lasted just three innings while allowing two hits, four walks and two runs to the Marlins. Only one of those runs was earned as Anderson airmailed a throw to first that seemed to shake him off his game. After Friday’s long night, the Braves could definitely use some length from Anderson on Saturday.
The Nationals will counter with left-hander Patrick Corbin who will be looking for a bounce back performance of his own after struggling against Atlanta in his last start. Corbin struck out six over 5 1/3 innings but allowed nine hits, walked four and gave up five runs.
Freddie Freeman added two more hits in Friday’s loss and is hitting .394/.509/.723 with 10 doubles, seven home runs and 31 RBIs over his last 25 games. Freeman is just 5-for-29 in 33 plate appearances in his career against Corbin.
Game Date/Time: Saturday, September 12, 6:05 p.m. ET
Location: Nationals Park, Washington DC
TV: Fox Sports South
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network