Washington Nationals Series Preview: Atlanta Braves in the nation’s capital for the first time in 2022

When the schedule drops you a pleasant little favor, it’s important to take it. The Washington Nationals bought simply that with the Milwaukee Brewers on the town on the heels of a six-game shedding streak.

Within the first two video games of the weekend sequence, the Nationals’ offense got here to life and bombarded Brewers pitching for 19 runs on 28 hits to take two wins earlier than the bats died down within the sequence finale, however hey, sequence wins aren’t too widespread for this workforce, in order that they’ll take it.

The sequence win gave the Nationals their second victory in three sequence, which is progress from the 2 sequence wins in ten sequence earlier than that. Child steps.

Subsequent up for Washington is a sequence in opposition to the Atlanta Braves for the second time this yr, as they hope to duplicate the sequence win that they took from Truist Park again in April.

After a sluggish begin to the season, the Braves have stopped enjoying useless and are surging again in direction of the place they anticipated to be within the postseason image come the top of the season.

Right here’s the lowdown from Nationals Park forward of the three-game sequence…

The schedule

  • Recreation One: Monday, June twelfth, 7:05 pm EDT. TV: MASN, Radio: 106.7 The Fan
  • Recreation Two: Tuesday, June thirteenth, 7:05 pm EDT. TV: MASN and MLB Community (out-of-market solely), Radio: 106.7 The Fan
  • Recreation Three: Wednesday, June 14th, 7:05 pm EDT. TV: MASN, Radio: 106.7 The Fan

Possible Pitchers

  • Recreation One: Josiah Grey (6-4, 4.33 ERA) vs Ian Anderson (5-3, 4.53 ERA)
  • Recreation Two: Stephen Strasburg (0-1, 13.50 ERA) vs Max Fried (6-2, 2.64 ERA)
  • Recreation Three: Erick Fedde (4-4, 4.87 ERA) vs Spencer Strider (2-2, 2.35 ERA)

Who’s sizzling?

Luis García: Properly, loads of Nationals followers have been crying for García to come back as much as the massive leagues after tearing up Triple-A to begin the season, and for essentially the most half, he’s continued the shape he confirmed within the minor leagues, at the least on the plate.

In his first 11 main league video games this season, García is sporting a .372/.378/.488 slash line with a house run and two doubles in 43 at-bats with one stroll and 7 strikeouts.

García might want to enhance on his plate self-discipline and draw extra walks as he progresses, which has been the case all through his time within the large leagues the final two years, however the hits are falling and he’s hitting the ball laborious. Anticipate him to be the beginning shortstop transferring ahead.

Ronald Acuña, Jr.: He’s again, and again with a vengeance. After tearing his ACL in the midst of final season and never enjoying by way of the Braves’ title run, Acuña has seemingly not skipped a beat and returned to a excessive stage of play this yr.

On the season, Acuña is slashing .311/.414/.529 with six residence runs and 16 RBIs in 32 video games, however has caught fireplace these days with a .368/.457/.737 within the month of June, hitting 4 of these six residence runs in his 10 appearances for the reason that calendar turned.

Acuña is a participant who wants no introduction to Nats followers, however he’s right here to reintroduce himself simply in case you have been underestimating him coming off a untimely finish to his 2021 season.

Who’s not?

César Hernández: Perhaps a precursor to a subject we’ll cowl later on this preview, however Hernández’s struggles on the plate are coming to the fore of dialog once more with the workforce’s hit-and-miss offense this month.

Thus far in June, Hernández is slashing a measly .178/.229/.200 in 48 plate appearances, as he’s notched only one extra-base hit whereas hanging out ten instances and strolling 3 times.

The Nats are persisting with him on the prime of the order for now, alternating between first and second within the order primarily based on whether or not it’s a lefty or righty beginning on the mound, however his .320 on-base proportion this season might want to enhance, or he might threat a demotion within the order.

Marcell Ozuna: Due to Acuña’s fast resurgence, Ozuna’s droop turns into an increasing number of noticeable within the Braves’ lineup, particularly now that Acuña is seeing an increasing number of time within the discipline, bumping Ozuna to DH, and a DH who isn’t hitting attracts extra query marks.

Thus far in June, Ozuna is slashing solely .189/.231/.243 with a pair of doubles whereas hanging out eight instances and strolling simply twice. He’s additionally dropped from hitting third or fourth repeatedly to now hitting sixth or seventh within the order, which isn’t a shock whereas he’s chilly on the plate.

From the opposing dugout

Take a look at among the prime Braves storylines from our associates at Battery Energy…

Another factor to look at

Time for much more lineup associated shenanigans. This time, Nationals skipper Dave Martinez has shaken up his batting order with Lane Thomas within the leadoff spot in opposition to lefties just lately, and hitting second in opposition to right-handed starters.

Thus far this season for Washington, César Hernández has been the workforce’s main leadoff man, however hasn’t fairly been the appropriate match with a lackluster .267/.319/.331 slash line with simply 17 walks.

The batting common is strong sufficient, however Hernández’s on-base capability is way too low to be hitting immediately forward of the workforce’s large hitters within the coronary heart of the lineup in order that they’ll persistently drive in runs, and he isn’t hitting for a lot energy when he does get on base.

So it was time to strive one thing new with Thomas, and he has thrived additional up the lineup.

When within the prime two spots within the order, Thomas is slashing a robust .296/.356/.574 with a 157 wRC+ in 59 plate appearances, combining on-base capability and a strong energy stroke.

“Once I sit round and begin desirous about lineups every single day, I form of strive to determine what’s the perfect match for all our lineup, 1-9,” Martinez mentioned. “Proper now it’s working. It’s good. He’s hitting the ball, he’s getting on base, he’s doing the issues we want him to do.”

So, what was it that just lately modified Martinez’s considering to get Thomas additional up the order?

“A giant cause for me that Lane can lead off proper now, is truthfully Luis [García],” Martinez defined. “Not having all these right-handed hitters in a bunch. Now Luis is hitting eighth or ninth, so we have now a left-hander down there, so it’s straightforward for me to say, “Okay, Lane can hit leadoff now, and put César [Hernández] second.’

“And César, he doesn’t thoughts the place he hits, he simply likes to hit. He’s executed it earlier than. He’s hit in every single place in a lineup and it doesn’t hassle him a bit

Hmm, in reality, that simply looks like a reasonably unhealthy thought course of to get to Thomas main off.

As a substitute of recognizing Hernández’s poor efficiency on the prime of the order, he’s staying up there to maintain mixing up the lefties and righties, and Thomas strikes there for a similar cause, not as a result of he hit nicely there final yr and was coming round on the plate.

At the very least Thomas is proving himself on the plate and searching like his outdated self, at the least partially because of the bump up the order, and getting extra pitches to hit with the massive weapons behind him.

Collection Preview Trivia

Final sequence’ trivia query: When the Nationals confronted the Brewers earlier this season, former Nat Trevor Gott made an look in opposition to them for Milwaukee. Who did the Nationals commerce away to amass Gott, together with Michael Brady, forward of the 2016 season?

Reply: Yunel Escobar

Right here’s our trivia query for this sequence with the Braves. For this one, we glance again at a former Nationwide undertaking a feat that Lane Thomas replicated final week…

Just one Nationals participant has had a 3 residence run recreation in opposition to the Braves for the reason that workforce moved to Washington in 2005. Are you able to identify the participant that achieved this feat?