The Braves have been a bad baseball team for the past four games. Poor starting pitching continues to hamper the club, while the offense has been quieted as well. One major setback to the club was the abdominal injury to Ronald Acuna, who since his return has been a shell of the player he was prior. His health, along with the current state of the pitching staff, leaves Atlanta with little room for error each night. Now the Braves head to Washington, where the division-rival Nationals are assuredly waiting with eyes toward extending the Atlanta woes.
Atlanta enters play with a 12-16 record on the season, which places them fourth in the divisional pecking order. The club looked the part of a contender when they reached the .500 mark on their most recent homestand, but the Blue Jays were very unkind in Dunedin. The Braves will look to reverse those fortunes with an offense that is most certainly due for positive regression. Players like Acuna, Freeman, Ozuna, and Albies will be expected to carry the team offensively, especially in the absence of Travis d’Arnaud. In addition to the usual suspects in the heart of the Atlanta order, Austin Riley has emerged as the hottest hitter for the Braves. His continued ascent would relieve some of the pressure from those further down the order and aid the big four as the Braves look to find some measure of consistency.
On Tuesday, the Braves will face Washington right-hander Joe Ross, who owns a 2-1 record with a 4.64 ERA this season. His ERA looks bad, but his 5.79 FIP actually looks even worse. Thus far, Ross is allowing 2.1 HR/9 with only 7.6 K/9. These numbers would appear to bode well for Atlanta, as would the 6.98 career ERA against the Braves. Ross can be effective when his sinker is working and he can locate down in the zone, but that has not historically been a frequent occurrence against the Braves, nor has it been a frequent occurrence against anyone in 2021.
The Braves have yet to announce their starter for the first game in Washington, but will assuredly do so when they release their starting lineup later today. We will dive deeper into whoever they tab on the lineups post during pre-game, so watch out for that piece this afternoon.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, May 4, 7:05 p.m. ET
Location: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
TV: Bally Sports South, MLB Network (out-of-market only)
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, @NNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network