Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves preview: Aaron Harang day


Apr 8, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Aaron Harang (34) pitches in the second inning against the New York Mets at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

The phrase “aiming for a sweep” is always fun to use with regard to the Atlanta Braves, and it certainly fits as the team hosts the Washington Nationals on Sunday afternoon. Saturday night’s marathon affair ended in a close-fought victory for the Braves, but for the first time in the series, Atlanta has a defined disadvantage (at least on paper) on the mound for Sunday’s game.

Washington will send one of their “aces” to the mound in this match-up, as left-hander Gio Gonzalez is scheduled to pitch. The 28-year-old lefty has allowed only 1 earned run in 12 innings this season (0.75 ERA), which should certainly put a touch of fear in the hearts of Braves fans as the game approaches. However, Gonzalez has been wholly owned by the Braves in his career, posting a 4.88 ERA in 9 career starts, and while it is a different cast of characters, that should bring a little bit of optimism to the table.

Gonzalez will be opposed by veteran right-hander Aaron Harang who, frankly, has been a revelation during his time in Atlanta. Many people disparaged the signing of the 35-year-old Harang, but his has amassed a 0.71 ERA in 2 starts (1 earned run in 12.2 innings) and he has been wildly effective in limiting opposing base-runners. It will be incredibly interesting to see what the Nationals lineup looks like here after Denard Span (7-day DL) and Jayson Werth (groin) missed Saturday’s game and Ryan Zimmerman exited early with an injury issue of his own. Regardless, Harang will be looking to keep his considerable momentum going, and it would be a huge plus for the Braves if he can succeed.

Here is a look at the particulars for Sunday:

Date: April 13, 2014

Start Time: 1:35 p.m.

TV Channel: Fox Sports South, MLB Network

Radio: 680 AM/106.7 FM (Local in Atlanta), Full list of Local Affiliates

Live Stream: MLB.tv (Click Here, $)

Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@ATLBeatBlog) for more information, and check back after the game for a full recap. Sound off in the comments!