After a 7-3 homestand, the Atlanta Braves will hit the road for a four-game series against the Washington Nationals before heading into the All-Star break. Atlanta ended its homestand by dropping two of three to the New York Mets and are now 2.5 games back in the NL East standings entering play Thursday. The Nationals at 30-60, have lost six straight and 12 of their last 13 games.
Kyle Wright will make his second straight start against the Nationals in Thursday’s opener. Wright allowed three runs and struck out five over seven innings against Washington last week. He has allowed a total of four earned runs over his last three starts (18 innings).
The Nationals will counter with veteran right-hander Aníbal Sánchez who will be making his first start of the season. Sanchez helped the Braves reach the postseason in 2018 and then signed a two-year deal with the Nationals in free agency. He helped Washington to a World Series win in 2019, but he struggled in 2020 and sat out all of the 2021 season. He re-signed with the Nationals in March, but a neck injury sidelined him for most of the first half of the season. Since joining Washington in 2019, Sanchez has faced the Braves six times allowing a combined 14 runs in 34 innings.
The Braves homered three more times in Wednesday’s loss to the Mets and are second only to the Yankees in the majors with 139. Austin Riley accounted for one of those homers and is the first Braves player with 25 home runs before the All-Star break since Andruw Jones had 27 in 2005. Riley has a .916 OPS which is the third best mark in the National League trailing only Paul Goldschmidt and Bryce Harper.
While the Nationals have struggled of late, it has not been because of the play of Juan Soto who is headed back to the All-Star Game and will compete against Ronald Acuña Jr. in the Home Run Derby. Soto got off to a slow start in 2022, but is red hot in July hitting .433/.605/.967 with five homers, 13 walks and just four strikeouts. Two of those home runs came in Wednesday’s doubleheader loss to the Mariners. Soto was 5-for-10 with two home runs in the series against the Braves last weekend at Truist Park.
Monday’s game is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. ET and can be seen on Bally Sports Southeast.
Game Date/Time: Thursday, July 14, 7:05 p.m. ET
Location: Nationals Park, Washinton DC
TV: Bally Sports Southeast
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan