Following a dramatic four-game split in Philadelphia and a ceremonial trip to the White House, the Braves are looking to keep going in the right direction as they take on the Washington Nationals for the first of a three-game series.
Bryce Elder is getting the start for tonight’s contest and he’ll be looking to string together his fourth-consecutive good start. He’s been coming in as a spot-starter since mid-August and has been getting the job done when the Braves have needed him. Granted, this will be his second start against the Nationals and both of the others came against the Marlins but the point is that Elder is coming in and doing a job for the Braves and taking care of business against these squads.
Elder will be coming into this game with a 0.96 ERA and a 2.05 FIP over his past three starts. Again, the competition has to be mentioned but ultimately at the end of the day, Bryce Elder is making it work against the big league batters that he’s been tasked to get out. I’d imagine that the Braves would be looking for Elder to get through six innings while keeping the damage to a minimum. While Bryce was unable to get out of the sixth inning in his most recent start against Washington, it wouldn’t be a shock if he was able to break that threshold tonight.
Meanwhile, Washington will be sending Cory Abbott to the mound and after his past couple of starts, the expectations can’t be that high. Abbott only went three innings while giving up two runs back on September 13 against the Orioles and then the Braves got him for four runs over four innings last week. Abbott has had a pretty rough go of it when it comes to his starts this season and the main hope for Atlanta is to continue where they left off last time against the 27-year-old hurler.
The Braves as a lineup should be feeling a little more confident heading into this game. Following a brief stretch last week where it felt like the lineup had hit a bit of a wall, it seems like some shake-ups have gotten this crew back into the swing of things (for lack of a better term). Plus the Braves are going into a stadium where they’ve had a ton of success recently — Atlanta has won 14 of their last 15 games at Nationals Park and when you consider what’s going to be happening this weekend, it’s imperative that the Braves keep their good run of form in Washington going strong.
Looking at things from a general perspective, this is a pitching matchup that should be in Atlanta’s favor. If Elder can continue to get it done against the Nationals and the lineup continues to hit the ball hard in a ballpark that has been very nice to them in recent times, then this could add up to another victory for the Braves. It seems like a victory is on the cards but this is still baseball and the Nationals would likely relish throwing a wrench in Atlanta’s plans going forward. Let’s see what happens tonight!
Game Date/Time: Monday, September 26, 7:05 p.m. ET
Location: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
TV: Bally Sports South
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan