Traveling up to Washington DC and facing the Nationals at their ballpark is similar to a colonoscopy. It's stressful, you don't want to go, and the outcome usually isn't good, but it's something that is required.
The Braves will take on the Nationals in a three-game series this week in the nation's hot and steamy capital. While a series against our NL East foes is never enjoyable, it will be the debut of our recently acquired leadoff man, Michael Bourn. That at least makes this series a little more fun.
Let's take a closer look at the 51-56 Nationals, who have lost seven of their last ten games...
The Rookie of the Year?
#18 / Second Base / Washington Nationals
Apr 25, 1987
|2011 - Danny Espinosa||107||386||49||88||15||5||17||55||36||106||12||2||.228||.317||.425|
Freddie Freeman, Craig Kimbrel and Brandon Beachy all have a chance to win the Rookie of the Year award for the National League, but Danny Espinosa is making a serious bid to take the title. The slugging second baseman has had a big year both at the plate and in the field and has been Washington's best overall player this season. He is susceptible to a few strikeouts, but he can do some damage if you leave a mistake up in the zone.
Monday, 7:05EDT - Jair Jurrjens vs. Livan Hernandez
|2011 - Jair Jurrjens||12-3||19||19||2||1||0||0||128.2||111||36||34||9||33||84||2.38||1.12|
|2011 - Livan Hernandez||5-10||23||22||1||1||0||0||135.1||153||71||63||12||38||86||4.19||1.41|
Tuesday, 7:05EDT - Derek Lowe vs. John Lannan
|2011 - Derek Lowe||6-9||23||23||0||0||0||0||129.1||137||66||65||7||48||89||4.52||1.43|
|2011 - John Lannan||7-7||22||22||0||0||0||0||126.1||122||54||51||10||49||72||3.63||1.35|
Wednesday, 1:05EDT - Brandon Beachy vs. Chien-Ming Wang
|2011 - Brandon Beachy||4-2||15||15||0||0||0||0||85.1||74||34||31||13||27||91||3.27||1.18|
|2011 - Chien-Ming Wang||0-1||1||1||0||0||0||0||4.0||8||6||4||0||1||2||9.00||2.25|
#36 / Pitcher / Washington Nationals
Feb 14, 1985
|2011 - Tyler Clippard||1-0||48||0||0||0||0||5||60.2||30||11||11||8||20||74||1.63||.82|
Tyler Clippard headlines a bullpen that has been pretty solid all season long. The All-Star set-up man has been great for the Nationals, and his good work has set up Drew Storen to record 26 saves. Outside of those two, Todd Coffey, Ross Detwiler and Henry Rodriguez have all gotten the job done in middle relief and long-man Sean Burnett always seems to give Atlanta problems despite not featuring very good numbers.
The Nationals always play the Braves tough. They have since 2007, and it just seems like the Braves never catch a break when facing their NL East foes. Michael Bourn will provide a spark, though, and Atlanta will hopefully take two out of three.