Baseball Head to Head Matchups: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves
Saturday, May 26, 2012
by Mike Stewart
One of baseball’s hottest teams for the better part of six weeks, Atlanta Braves enters Saturday having lost six of its past seven games. More importantly, the Braves are losing bodies. Backup catcher David Ross, playing for the flu-ridden Brian McCann, left Friday’s 7-4 loss to Washington Nationals with a groin injury. Atlanta is already playing without third baseman Chipper Jones, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list after Friday's game with a leg bruise (retroactive to Wednesday). Matt Diaz (flu) and Freddie Freeman (eye) are not 100 percent. The NL East-leading Nationals made a statement in their first game of 2012 against the Braves, scoring seven runs with two outs to extend their division lead to two games over second-place Atlanta.
Saturday's pitching matchup features two of the top seven picks from the 2009 draft, Washington’s Stephen Strasburg and Atlanta’s Mike Minor. Strasburg cranked his first career homer in his last start, but left after five innings with tightness in his right bicep. Minor gave up four homers in a loss Monday at Cincinnati, and has surrendered 12 homers in 53 innings this season.
Strasburg was removed from Sunday’s victory over Baltimore as a precaution but won't end up missing any time. The right-hander suffered his first loss of the season in his previous start, May 15 against San Diego. Strasburg has struck out 26 hitters in his past 15 innings, including 13 in six innings May 10 at Pittsburgh.
Minor was 2-1 with a 3.10 ERA after his first three starts, but has not won since April 19. Homers have plagued the former first-round pick. Minor allowed back-to-back homers against Cincinnati in his past start Monday, and nine of the 29 hits he has given up in May have left the ballpark.
1. Minor gave up just 13 homers in 123 1/3 innings in 2010-11.
2. McCann, who had not started in a week, came in to take Ross’ place in the second inning Friday. Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez indicated the Braves would call up a catcher to takes Jones' spot on the roster.
3. Washington outfielder Michael Morse played in an extended spring training game Friday. Morse, out all season with a torn lat muscle, is expected to start a minor-league rehab assignment Monday.
Recent Trends on Washington:
- Over is 9-3 in WAS last 12 overall.
- Over is 9-3 in WAS last 12 on grass.
- WAS are 6-2 in their last 8 road games.
Recent Trends on Atlanta:
- Under is 9-2 in ATL last 11 Sat. games.
- ATL are 14-6 in Minors last 20 starts on grass.
Head to Head:
- Over is 7-2-1 in the last 10 meetings in Atlanta.
- Over is 13-4-1 in the last 18 meetings.
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