The Braves earned a hard-fought victory on Tuesday, beating the Nationals while gaining a full game in the division race over the Phillies. With just over three weeks remaining in the regular season, each game carries significant weight in the quest for a fourth-consecutive division title. Atlanta hopes to continue their ascent on Wednesday, as Touki Toussaint draws the start against Washington.
Thus far the 2021 campaign has been encouraging for Toussaint. The right-hander owns a 3-2 record with a 4.19 ERA on the season, but most of the damage has come in two starts. In his most recent start against the Rockies, Toussaint found trouble in the third inning, allowing five runs in the frame. Issues with inconsistency have long plagued Toussaint, but his ability to avoid major damage had been encouraging prior to his outing last week. A 5.12/4.35 FIP/xFIP is somewhat troubling, along with a 76% strand rate and .257 BABIP, which all points to some negative regression going forward.
Touki will start tomorrow's game. Sounds like Smyly will be available to piggyback if necessary— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) September 8, 2021
In the event that Toussaint struggles again, the Braves will reportedly have Drew Smyly available in relief. These two have been battling for starts over the past month and for now it appears that Toussaint will get the nod, but Smyly will still figure into the equation. This could pose some lineup concerns for Washington manager Dave Martinez, as platoon advantages could quickly change if Smyly were to enter.
The Nationals will give the ball to 31-year-old Sean Nolin, who has made four starts for Washington this season. He owns an 0-2 record with a 5.71 ERA despite facing the Mets in three of his four starts. The left-hander has allowed 25 hits in 171⁄3 innings, good for a .342 opponents average and 1.67 WHIP. The Braves should have plenty of opportunities against Nolin, though his last two starts have been improved.
The Atlanta offense has been outstanding against left-handed pitching of late, with deadline acquisitions adding necessary depth that can create platoon advantages. Ozzie Albies, Jorge Soler, and Adam Duvall have been especially impressive in these matchups and could spark the Braves toward another much-needed win over the Nationals.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, September 8, 7:20 p.m. ET
Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: Bally Sports South
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network