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Braves set to start huge homestand with series opener against Nationals

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Max Fried is going, so let’s get this win flowing.

Tampa Bay Rays v Atlanta Braves Photo by Edward M. Pio Roda/Getty Images

After taking a few lumps out West, the Braves are back home and looking to get on a roll as they take on a slumping Washington Nationals club.

For the Nationals, they have to be getting sick of the NL East at this rate. They have played nothing but NL East teams since August 24 and it has not gone well for them. They’ve dropped every series during that span and now they’re going to come to Atlanta to take on the divisional leaders. The Braves faced the Nationals six times last week and won five. Another series win for the Braves is a must at this point, and the pitching matchup for the first game is pretty favorable.

Max Fried is will be starting on the bump for the Braves tonight and last month’s games against Washington should be fresh in his memory. In both starts against the Nationals back in August, Fried went six innings in each, struck out five in the first start, seven in the second, walked only one batter across both starts, and gave up two earned runs (three overall) over those two starts. Fried has been pitching very well lately and that includes his most recent appearances against the Nationals. Anything that isn’t at least six innings with runs being held to a minimum would be a real disappointment for Fried this evening.

Meanwhile, Paolo Espino has been called upon by the Nationals to take on the Braves tonight. Espino will be heading into this one with a decent level of confidence, as his past two starts have been pretty solid — he held the Mets to one run over five innings back on August 27 and then followed that up by getting into the sixth inning against the Phillies while only giving up two runs. With that being said, he has had some clunkers recently and one of those clunkers includes a start where he got lit up for five runs (off of three home runs) over four innings. His opposition that night was these Atlanta Braves. So while Espino has reason to feel like he’s on a good run at the moment, the Braves also have recent evidence that they can light this guy up.

I said it yesterday and I’ll say it again: These are games that the Braves absolutely have to win as we get into the final stretch of the season. While the Nationals will always be somewhat dangerous as long as they have Juan Soto in the midst of their lineup, this is a team that the Braves should be taking care of if they’re serious about winning the division once again. The pitching matchup is a good one for the Braves and Atlanta’s lineup can slug with the best of ‘em on any day and hopefully today is a day where we see the Braves doing a whole lot of slugging. This is a huge homestand coming up and it would be great to see Atlanta get it started off the right way.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Tuesday, September 7, 7:20 p.m. ET

Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, GA

TV: Bally Sports South

Streaming: MLB.tv

Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network