Washington Nationals Series Preview: First look at the defending champion Atlanta Braves

For 3 video games to begin the 2022 season, it was fairly dismal for the Washington Nationals as they dropped the primary three in opposition to the New York Mets at Nationals Park.

It regarded just like the collection finale may comply with an identical script with the Nationals down 2-1 heading into the eighth inning. Nonetheless, because of some not like heroes in Dee Unusual-Gordon and Lucius Fox, they performed some lovely small ball to tie the sport earlier than Nelson Cruz drove in a pair to provide Washington a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

After the late win, the Nationals head on the street to tackle the Atlanta Braves. It will likely be the primary time the 2 sides go toe-to-toe for the reason that Nats’ division rivals received the World Collection final fall.

The Braves are coming off of a considerably disappointing collection — effectively, as disappointing as a collection that included a World Collection ring ceremony may very well be — in opposition to the Cincinnati Reds the place they might solely take two of 4 in opposition to a group that blew issues up this offseason.

Right here’s the lowdown from Truist Park forward of the three-game collection…

The schedule

  • Sport One: Monday, April eleventh, 7:20 pm EDT. TV: MASN 2, Radio: 106.7 The Fan
  • Sport Two: Tuesday, April twelfth, 7:20 pm EDT. TV: MASN, Radio: 106.7 The Fan
  • Sport Three: Wednesday, April thirteenth, 12:20 pm EDT. TV: MASN and MLB Community (out-of-market), Radio: 106.7 The Fan

Possible Pitchers

  • Sport One: TBD (Josh Rogers?) (0-0, -.– ERA) vs Huascar Ynoa (0-0, -.– ERA)
  • Sport Two: Patrick Corbin (0-1, 4.50 ERA) vs Max Fried (0-1, 7.94 ERA)
  • Sport Three: Josiah Grey (0-1, 9.00 ERA) vs Charlie Morton (1-0, 3.38 ERA)

Who’s sizzling?

Sean Doolittle: Of us, perhaps it’s a bit untimely, however it appears like Doolittle is again… roughly.

The fan-favorite began the season robust in opposition to the Mets with a pair of excellent, scoreless innings, putting out three batters, whereas additionally operating his fastball again as much as his normal 95mph. If he can preserve that velocity and motion, he may very well be a helpful piece of the bullpen.

Spencer Strider: Everyone knows the Braves have a star-studded roster, loads of whom had robust collection in opposition to the Reds. As an alternative, we’ll have a look at one thing of a lesser-known title to Nationals followers in Strider, who has had a meteoric rise since turning into a fourth-round decide in 2020.

2021 was the left-hander’s professional ball debut, and he rose all the way in which from being a starter within the minors to a reliever for the massive league membership proper on the finish of final season. He then carried that over to this spring and impressively received a spot within the Opening Day bullpen.

Then within the first collection of the season, Strider opened much more eyes with 2.1 excellent innings in opposition to the Reds whereas putting out 5 batters. He has the flexibility to do a variety of issues out of the bullpen, so may dazzle once more if known as up on this collection.

Who’s not?

Maikel Franco: Thrust into the full-time beginning third base function following the Spring Coaching damage to Carter Kieboom, Franco hasn’t gotten off to the very best begin along with his new group.

After a mediocre spring, Franco did not report successful in his first three video games as a Nationwide, struggled on protection, and went simply 1-for-13 within the four-game set in opposition to the Mets. He’ll want to enhance shortly if he needs to stay round on the roster this season.

Eddie Rosario: One of many Braves’ October heroes on their run to the World Collection final yr, Rosario hasn’t fairly gotten off to the beginning he would’ve wished to 2022 as but.

The 30-year-old outfielder may solely muster one hit in 14 at-bats over the weekend in opposition to Cincinnati, which comes on the heels of a sluggish spring the place he slashed simply .167/.167/.200 with 9 strikeouts and no walks. He’ll be trying to get again on monitor on this collection.

From the opposing dugout

Try a number of the prime Braves storylines from our mates at Battery Energy…

Yet another factor to look at

Not solely one of many largest tales on this collection, however one of many largest tales in baseball this yr was when Freddie Freeman left the Atlanta Braves for the Los Angeles Dodgers in free company, and all different NL East followers had been left to breathe an enormous sigh of reduction.

It was one of many few issues they agree on, Freeman on the plate in an important scenario was the stuff of nightmares for all. Now he’ll solely get to do it six instances a season as a substitute of 19.

Filling these reasonably massive sneakers in Atlanta now could be Matt Olson, who arrived in a blockbuster with the Oakland Athletics in March, after which instantly signed an enormous eight-year, $168 million contract. So yeah, not a lot probability for respite going from Freeman to Olson.

Regardless of primarily changing a franchise icon, Olson is attempting to remain centered on the current.

“I perceive there’s at all times going to be some type of parallel or connection that’s tried to be drawn, however that may’t have an effect on what I do, can’t have an effect on what we do as a group,” Olson instructed Justin Toscano of The Atlanta Journal-Structure earlier this month.

“That is an extremely gifted lineup. So far as strain goes, I’m not feeling strain to be the man or something. There’s 9 dudes who can do it any given evening. That’s a superb feeling. Extremely gifted group. There’s no strain so far as that goes.”

I get it, you don’t consider these phrases, everybody would say that in the identical state of affairs. Properly, perhaps you must see how Olson has began the season in Atlanta then.

In his first 4 video games this season, Olson has gone 8-for-14 with a house run, a pair of doubles, three walks, and three strikeouts, giving him an early .571/.647/.929 slash line.

Search for Olson to be on the coronary heart of what the Braves do on the plate on this collection…

Collection Preview Trivia

Final collection’ trivia query: The Nationals have confronted 4 former Cy Younger winners on Opening Day since 2005. Jacob deGrom, who was set to take action once more this yr earlier than he was shut down with an damage, is among the 4 pitchers. Are you able to title the opposite three?

Reply: Tom Glavine (2006), Roy Halladay (2010), Bartolo Colon (2015)

As talked about in our final preview, we’re attempting out a brand new characteristic in our collection previews this yr. We’re going to have a trivia query every collection so that you can attempt your hand at and reply down within the feedback, then we’ll reveal the reply in our subsequent collection preview.

Right here’s the trivia query for this collection in opposition to the Braves…

The final time that Freddie Freeman wasn’t the Braves’ first baseman for the opening collection of the season between the Braves and Nationals was 2013. Who was the primary baseman for the Braves in that sport?


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