Apr 9, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; General view of the Natitude sign on the outfield wall during a game between the Chicago White Sox and the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. The Nationals defeated the White Sox 8 - 7. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Braves Series Preview: Washington Nationals (9/16 – 9/18)

This will hopefully be the NL East clinching series for the Braves. They just need to win two of the three games in D.C. to clinch. Wouldn’t it be so sweet to wash the taste of that awful Padres series out of our mouths with a Division clinching win in the Nationals home park? I, for one, think that it would. Lets see the match-ups:

Tuesday, September 17th (Game 1) – 1:05 PM ET – Mike Minor vs. Dan Haren

Editor’s Note: This game was originally scheduled for Monday night before being postponed on account of the tragedy in Washington DC.

This is the premier pitching match-up of the series as Mike Minor tries to avenge his last start against Washington, which was the worst of his young career. On August 17th, he didn’t even make it out of the second inning and had a horrible time locating anything. Minor gave up 4 runs, 4 hits and 4 walks while only recording 5 outs. Mike faced the Nationals one other time this season and went 6 innings allowing only 2 runs and got the win. Minor has been struggling in general lately, posting an ERA over 4.50 in his last 7 starts. Not exactly the way you want your ace to be finishing the season. Dan Haren hasn’t had a great season, but his last start was excellent. He held the Mets to just 1 hit over 6 innings while striking out 8. With one more win Haren will reach double digits in wins for the 9th straight season. Haren has given up an NL-worst 26 homers so far this season. Lets hope the Braves can add some more to his league worst total.

Tuesday, September 17th (Game 2) – 7:05 PM ET – Freddy Garcia vs. Tanner Roark

Its a match-up of, “That guy still pitches?” vs. “Who is that guy?”. Freddy Garcia is starting in the place of Paul Maholm, who expects he might rejoin the Braves rotation on Friday. This will be Garcia’s second start as a Brave and this first one was unbelievably good. Old man Garcia pitched 6 strong innings to get the win against the Marlins on Thursday. In reality, this COULD possibly be the final Major League start of a pretty nice career for Freddy Garcia. Tanner Roark is a rookie that I don’t really know a whole lot about. Tanner has spent most of the season in the Washington bullpen but has made two starts, won both of them and has an ERA of 1.30. Roark pitched twice against the Braves in relief this season totaling 6 innings and only gave up 2 hits and no runs.

Wednesday, September 18th – 7:05 PM ET – Alex Wood vs. Ross Ohlendorf

Alex Wood had his last start skipped to give him some extra rest going into the post-season. Wood was knocked around pretty good in his 2 previous starts before getting skipped last Thursday. He gave up 11 runs in only 7 innings over his last 2 starts after leading the NL with a 0.90 ERA in 5 August starts. Hopefully, the extra rest will be what he needs to come out throwing well again and keep that #4 spot in the Braves playoff rotation. Ohlendorf is starting in place of Stephen Strasburg because Strasburg is afraid of the Braves, plain and simple.

Even if somehow the Braves get swept by the Nationals, they will still be winning the NL East, as their magic number is only 4. However, It sure would be nice to be able to celebrate in from of them.

If you’re going to be in the D.C. area, or just looking to see Atlanta potentially clinch, grab Braves vs. Nationals tickets here for as low as $6.

Tags: Atlanta Braves Washington Nationals

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