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Series Preview: Braves vs. Nationals

The last homestand of the season is here.

Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves return home to Turner Field for the final time this season, as they take on the reeling Washington Nationals in a three-game set, beginning Tuesday night.

Atlanta followed up an impressive stretch of baseball in which it won five out of six games against the Phillies and Mets with a putrid sweep at the hands of the Marlins. The Nationals and Cardinals now roll into town for the conclusion of a lost season, but thanks to those wins in Philadephia and New York, the Braves need just a single win to avoid their first 100-loss season since 1988. 100 losses seemed merely inevitable just a few short weeks ago, but the team has salvaged at least some positive feelings as they head toward the finish line.

Freddie Freeman has shown a great deal of grit and toughness over the past week, as his ailing wrist has worsened in recent days. He came off the bench against the Mets last Thursday and powered the Braves to victory through the pain with a homer and five RBIs, but was removed in the third inning of Sunday's game and is listed as day-to-day heading into this series.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you saw where Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon challenged franchise player Bryce Harper for not running out a flyball and subsequently grabbed his throat. Papelbon has been suspended for the remainder of the season, so the Braves will not see him in the series.

Washington will send Tanner Roark, Jordan Zimmermann, and Stephen Strasburg to the mound in the series. Lately, Roark and Zimmermann have been knocked around a bit, but Strasburg has been lights out, posting two wins and an 0.78 ERA in his last three starts. Matt den Dekker has easily been the team's best hitter in recent days, batting .533 (8-for-15) with two homers and three RBIs in the past week.

The Braves will send out three rookies in Matt Wisler, Williams Perez, and Ryan Weber to pitch in the series. Weber started the wild game in Miami last Friday night -- which the Braves lost 12-11 after building a 4-0 first inning lead and giving up 11 unanswered runs -- and pitched just two innings. Perez and Wisler have provided solid returns in the last month of the season, and Wisler has pitched at least six innings in each of his last three starts.

Probable Pitchers

Tuesday, September 29, 7:10 p.m. ET

ATL: Matt Wisler
2015: 18 games (17 starts), 6-8 W-L, 5.40 ERA, 5.16 FIP, 3.6 BB/9, 6.3 K/9

WAS: Tanner Roark
2015: 38 games (10 starts), 4-6 W-L, 4.76 ERA, 4.73 FIP, 2.2 BB/9, 5.5 K/9

Wednesday, September 30, 7:10 p.m. ET

ATL: Williams Perez
2015: 22 games (19 starts), 6-6 W-L, 5.04 ERA, 4.95 FIP, 3.9 BB/9, 5.7 K/9

WAS: Jordan Zimmerman
2015: 32 starts, 13-9 W-L, 3.68 ERA, 3.78 FIP, 1.7 BB/9, 7.5 K/9

Thursday, October 1, 7:10 p.m. ET

ATL: Ryan Weber
2015: 4 starts, 0-2 W-L, 5.91 ERA, 4.64 FIP, 2.5 BB/9, 3.8 K/9

WAS: Stephen Strasburg
2015: 22 starts, 10-7 W-L, 3.63 ERA, 2.89 FIP, 1.9 BB/9, 11.0 K/9

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