Braves Begin Stretch Run With Three Against the Nationals


After finishing a split series with the Cardinals, the Braves begin their stretch run with nothing but NL East foes left on the schedule. The first series ends their homestand with three games against the Nationals.

With the Nyjer Morgan situation surely a distraction, the Nationals are 3-7 in September. After taking two of three from the Pirates, they have lost their last two series against the Mets and Marlins, including getting swept by the Fish. They scored a total of seven runs in that series, with five coming in the final game.

Pitching matchups after the jump…

The series opener Monday features Yunesky Maya and Derek Lowe. At the age of 28, Maya made his debut last week against the Mets, allowing four runs on five hits in five innings, walking two and striking out three. He’s little. That’s about all I have on him. Hopefully the Braves know more.

Lowe gave up eight hits but only one run and no walks in six innings against the Pirates last time out. He has one start against the Nationals this season, allowing four runs in seven innings of a loss. He has a career 4.12 ERA in 98 innings against them.

Livan Hernandez faces Jair Jurrjens in the Tuesday matchup. Hernandez is finally regressing to his xFIP, which sits at 4.81. His K/BB of 1.68 is still his best since 2005, and he has allowed the lowest amount of HR/9 in his career at 0.63. His BABIP and LOB% have both averaged out some and aren’t terribly one-sided, causing his ERA to increase to 3.82. After allowing eight runs to the Pirates, he allowed three to the Mets in six innings last time out. Hernandez gave up two runs in seven innings to the Braves earlier this season, but holds a 5.09 career ERA against them.

You never know what you’re going to get from Jurrjens. After seven beautiful shutout innings against the Marlins, he allowed seven runs in 3.2 innings to the Cardinals last time out. His previous four starts have been seven runs, three runs, no runs and seven runs. Strikeouts remain up but walks are becoming an issue again. Jurrjens gave up one run in five innings for a win against the Nationals earlier this season. He has a 2.86 ERA in eight starts against them.

Wednesday’s matchup begins at noon and features John Lannan and Mike Minor. After struggling so much early in the season, including dealing with elbow problems, Lannan has pitched much better lately, allowing four runs or more in three of his past 10 starts. He allowed one run in each start against the Cardinals and Pirates before allowing three runs to the Marlins in his most recent outing. Lannan has never had good K/BB rates, posting a 1.34 mark this season. He gets grounders at over 50%, but does not miss bats and can give up a walk or two. He gave up two runs in five innings to the Braves earlier this season and has a 3.44 ERA in nine starts against them.

Minor is making his second career start against the Nationals after making his home debut against them. In that start, he allowed two runs on five hits in six innings for his first career win. Minor has struggled in his past two starts, allowing a total of 10 runs in nine innings. Walks are still under control and he continues to get strikeouts, walking one and striking out nine over the stretch.