Atlanta Braves Fall to Nationals 7-3 in Series Finale

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 17: Spencer Strider #65 of the Atlanta Braves pitches in the first inning during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 17, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 17: Spencer Strider #65 of the Atlanta Braves pitches in the first inning during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 17, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

With Sunday’s game being the last game for the Braves before the all-star break, the Atlanta Braves look to finish the first half of the season strong with a win in Washington.

The Atlanta Braves are taking on the Nationals in the final game of a 4 game series with rookie phenom Spencer Strider on the mound Sunday. Strider, coming off of a solid outing against the Mets, is looking to finish the 1st half of his brilliant rookie season off strong.

The Nationals were first to get their offense rolling with runners in scoring in position in the second inning after Strider walked the lead-off batter and then gave up a slow rolling infield single and a ball thrown well past first base resulting in runners on second and third.

Former Brave Ehire Adrianza delivered for the Nationals with a line drive single to center bringing both runners home to put the Nationals on the board early 2-0. Unfortunately, the Nationals were not done with their attack on Strider as Victor Robles followed Adrianza with a deep fly beyond the glove of Eddie Rosario at the wall for a 2-run homerun.

Strider was finally able to get a pop out to left to end the inning, but not before throwing 38 pitches in the second inning.

The Braves although late to the party, got their offense going in the 4th. Dansby Swanson led off with a line drive laced up the middle into center field. Matt Olson then delivered with what he does best, a double down right field line which scored the speedy Dansby from first.

Austin Riley continued the show in the 4th with a line drive into center field which moved Olson to third base. Eddie Rosario was then able to knock Matt home with a sac fly to deep center field. Adam Duvall kept the offense coming with a double off the wall in left field which also scored Austin Riley from first base. Braves scored 3 in the 4th before the Nationals were able to get out of the top of the 4th.

The Nationals tacked on another run in the bottom of the 4th after a single, walk, and a couple of groundballs moved the base runners around bringing one home, increasing the Nationals lead to 5-3.

The Braves brought in Dylan Lee to relieve Spencer Strider after 4 innings. Strider did not have his stuff today, with 5 earned runs and 4 hits through 4 innings pitched. Dylan Lee brought his A-game however, striking out the first batters he faced and then got Juan Soto to fly out in a quick 1-2-3 inning for Lee.

Lee’s next inning was not nearly as crisp though. After giving up a lead-off single up the middle, a broken bat bloop hit into center field scored the Nationals 6th run of the game.

The Braves were given a chance to tie in the top of the 7th. Robinson Cano led off with a groundball to third base which was fielded cleanly but was awarded an error on the throw (even though it looked like the error should have been awarded to Josh Bell on the catch or lack thereof). Michael Harris II got his game going with a ground ball up the middle, his first hit of the game.

Swanson worked the count, getting it to 3-2 before taking a close ball 4, loading the bases and brining Matt Olson up with 2 outs. Olson was also able to work the count to 3-2 before hitting a weak ground ball back to pitcher Carl Edwards jr. who was able to make the play and end the Braves scoring threat in the 7th.

Tyler Matzek came into relief in the 7th and continued his incredible work since returning from his long stint on the IL. He only needed 6 pitches to retire the three Nationals hitters he faced.

The Nationals offense kept striking in the 8th with a solo homerun from their superstar Juan Soto. The Braves did a great job limiting any blasts from the homerun derby participant, but he was bound to launch one at some point during the 4 game series.

The Nationals brought in closer to Kyle Finnigan to end the game and he did just that. Nationals closed out the game with a final score of 7-3.

Spencer Strider just did not have his stuff today which is ok. This start is probably the first one for Strider which you come away from disappointed, which is impressive considering his first lackluster start came so late into his young career.

The offense had many of opportunities to score including bases loaded and capitalize on runners in scoring position and were unable to cash in on those opportunities.

Even though losing the last game before the all-star game is very disappointing, Braves still ended up winning the series and closed the first half of the season as one of, if not the hottest team in baseball.

The Braves sit at 56-38 and are currently 3 games behind the Mets for the division lead. Though I’m sure many fans would have loved that lead to be half of what is it, the Braves came a long way from when the Mets held a division lead of 11.5 games.

The Braves next game will be in Atlanta on Friday against the Los Angeles Angels which should be an exciting series against a few of the best players in baseball. Although there is a long wait to see the Atlanta Braves play again, there will be plenty of representation from Atlanta in the all star festivities this week with Ronald Acuna Jr. in the all star game and 6 of our Braves players representing Atlanta in Los Angeles.