Last one. Last series against the hated Nats. We need this one to shut them down for the division, and possibly take them out of playoff contention. Make no mistake, there's been no hotter team in baseball than the Nats right now. They are fighting for a playoff spot and trailing the Reds by only 5 games. We can take that all away with a good series this week. Unfortunately, we're playing some of our worst offensive ball at the moment. We'll need to find the sticks and pitch with panache to take 2 of the 3 this time. On to the matchups:
Game 1 - Minor (13-7) v. Haren (9-13)
Game 2 - Garcia (4-6) v. Roark (6-0)
Game 3 - Wood (3-3) v. Ohlendorf (4-0)
Game 1 will not happen tonight. There's been a horrible shooting nearby and they are still looking for the guys as I type this, so I have no if matchups will stay the same as they are supposed to do a double header tomorrow. If they do, here's what to expect. Minor is better than Haren. Minor has an ERA near 3, Haren has one near 5. Minor has won 13 games, Haren as lost 13 games. What matters currently is that Minor has lost 2 in a row on the road, and Haren won his last game in a 6 inning shutout. One team is hot, and one isn't. I'm hoping that Minor can turn that around, but he frankly hasn't been good in a month. The worst part is that he's had a very bad line against the Nats. He's pitched 2 games against them and he has a 7.04 ERA. That's...depressing. Haren on the other hand has one start against the Braves with a win and an ERA of 1.00. So while Minor is a better pitcher than Haren, this matchup really stinks for the Braves.
Game 2 will be the back end of the double header, so again the matchups might shift. If they go like this Garcia isn't a bad guy to toss against the Nats. He's got a .133 BAA, and a win with a 0.00 ERA this year in one game. I'll take that. Facing him will be Tanner Roark, a 6'2" rook who has lit up the majors in his brief appearance. A 1.32 ERA in 35 innings isn't too shabby, and he faced the Braves for 4 innings in relief, giving up only a single hit. I have no idea what to expect here, other than the Braves having a few issues hitting him early in the game. However, the more looks we have at a guy the better, typically. That means maybe by the second time through the lineup, we can get a spot for a big inning.
Game 3 is Wood with a 1.42 ERA against Washington in one game, and he goes against Ohlendorf who hasn't faced Atlanta all season. Again, this is one of those games where 3 runs may win it. The Braves will have to find a way to scrap enough to get those key hits, and Wood has to watch out for the hitting antics of Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper. Honestly, this is such a tossup that you hope the Braves can take the first two in the double header so that this one doesn't matter. However, with the other matchups, it's likely this will be a rubber game, and we'll need it to clinch.
I can't say I like any of the matchups, but then again the Braves have found ways to beat up on the Nationals so far this season. They just need to do it one more time. The CPA took a beating from the Padres going 1-2 on the series, and it will make a pick on both games of the double header tomorrow.
CPA Prediction Game 1: Nats 6 - Braves 2
CPA Prediction Game 2: Braves 3 - Nats 1
The CPA expects a split. Minor has been awful against the Nats and they are on a hot streak, it may be a buzzsaw situation there. The crafty vet Garcia on the other hand may be ready to deal those Nats a late loss with his contact pitching. A split of a double header isn't that bad honestly, so we can hope for that and focus on game 3 next.