Found April 12, 2013 on The Nats Blog:
In the first series of what promises to be a fierce rivalry this season, the Washington Nationals (7-2) are set to face off against NL East competitor the Atlanta Braves (8-1). After the Braves finished four games behind the Nationals last year and kept pace with them in a close race toward the division championship, Atlanta is likely to be the Nationals biggest competition this year. The Nats have a 73-72 record against the Braves since 2005, and finished 10-8 against them in 2012. However, Atlanta won the teams’ final four matchups. The Nationals don’t want the Braves to become too confident about their most recent successes, which is why they would like to use this series to remind them that Washington still holds the NL East crown. "The Nationals already sent their message last year," pitcher Dan Haren said, according to MLB.com. "They have to come knock us off. With that said, they got off to a great start. It looks like they are playing really confidently. We are not going to take them for granted by any means." Like the Nationals, the Braves also swept their first faceoff with the Miami Marlins, and swept the Chicago Cubs before that. Atlanta will ride its six-game winning streak into Washington where the Nationals, who are still undefeated 6-0 at home, have the momentum to end the streak after coming off their own three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox. Bro Power After balancing out what was a predominantly left-handed lineup with right-handed acquisitions B.J. and Justin Upton, Nationals manager Davey Johnson feels the Braves are in a better offensive position this year. However, right fielder Jayson Werth thinks the match-up between the two teams is still fairly even. "We'll see. We have some good pitching. That whole team strikes out a lot and we have strikeout pitchers. So we'll see how we match up, " Werth said, according to MLB.com. There is no doubt that the Uptons have already proven to be assets in Atlanta, though. Justin Upton leads the National League with six home runs and a 1.365 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging), and both brothers have shown that their value in the field elevates the Braves’ outfield to among the best in baseball. Though B.J Upton has had a slow start to the season, with only three hits and 12 strikeouts in 29 at-bats, his career slash line of .254/.335/.420 suggests that his slump will not last long. In the Zone Ryan Zimmerman (3B) 1-for-2, hit a two-RBI double after White Sox pitcher Dylan Axelrod intentionally walked Bryce Harper (4/11) - Friday will be Zimmerman’s 1,000th game Who’s Hot? Justin Upton (LF) .353 AVG, .395 OBP, .971 SLG, 6 HR, 9 RBI (nine games) Evan Gattis (C) .391 AVG, .440 OBP, .826, SLG, 3 HR, 6 RBI (six games) Who’s Not? Jason Heyward (RF) .071 AVG, .257 OBP, .179 SLG, 2 RBI, 7 SO (nine games) BJ Upton (CF) .103 AVG, .212 OBP, .207 SLG, 1 RBI, 12 SO (eight games) Probable Starters 4/12, Ross Detwiler (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 SO, 6 H, 6 IP) vs. Julio Teheran (0-0, 9.00 ERA, 2 SO, 8 H, 5 IP) 4/13, Stephen Strasburg (1-1, 4.38 ERA, 8 SO, 12 H, 12.1 IP) vs. Tim Hudson (1-0, 3.27 ERA, 10 SO, 9 H, 11 IP) 4/14, Gio Gonzalez (1-0, 0.82 ERA, 12 SO, 6 H, 11 IP) vs. Paul Maholm (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 13 SO, 7 H, 12.2 IP)  
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Braves third baseman Juan Francisco hits monstrous homer, admires the hell out of it

During Atlanta's 8-0 win in Miami last night, the Atlanta offense struggled for the first four innings before exploding in the fifth. Andrelton Simmons started the scoring with an RBI single, and Braves rookie catcher Evan Gattis extended the lead to four runs with a three-run homer. But the real cherry on top during the inning was this monstrous home run by Braves third baseman...

Atlanta Braves give Evan Gattis start at 1st base

The unusual journey Evan Gattis traveled to get to the majors with the Atlanta Braves took him to a new destination Friday night: first base. Thrown into a position he hasn't played since seven games in Class A in 2011, the 26-year-old rookie took some practice grounders before Atlanta's game against the Washington Nationals. ''I knew it was a possibility, for sure...

Braves Pitching Still Leads Team

Pitching is still the Braves strength The Braves are off to a fast 8-1 start and their newly found power is what everyone is seemingly talking about.  Atlanta is tied for the National League lead in homers and some of their biggest power hitters have yet to flex their muscles. Justin Upton leads the majors with six home runs and Evan Gattis is hitting Paul Bunyan type blasts. ...

Chopcast: Gattis filling starter's role nicely

ATLANTA -- At times, the Evan Gattis story reads like a Hollywood script. Wednesday night, with the Braves taking on the lowly Marlins in Miami, was one of those nights. Gattis belted his third home run of the season against the Marlins the rest of the league is starting to take notice, too. His story is becoming famous. His roller-coaster ride of odd jobs en route to the majors...

Evan Gattis uses janitor ID as Twitter avatar

From moppin' floors to Turner Field

Braves' Hudson bests Nats' Strasburg

Tim Hudson pitched seven innings of four-hit ball, Evan Gattis homered, and the Atlanta Braves beat Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals 3-1 Saturday for their eighth straight victory. Hudson (2-0) allowed one run, walked none and struck out three in improving his lifetime record against Washington to 15-5. Not only did the right-hander outpitch Strasburg, but he also...

Braves, Nationals to feel each other out

FOX Sports South: The Braves swept the Cubs and swept the Marlins but its the Nationals that are their real measuring stick. What do you expect to see this weekend? Chip Caray: Everyones going to assign an awful lot of important to this series but this is the first three of 19 times that they play these guys. It is an early-season measuring stick and a barometer for both of these...

Deja Drew?

"It’s the same thing that kind of got us last year, and why we didn’t maybe move on. Because we couldn’t close games out both pitching and defense-wise. We need to get better at that and learn from our mistakes." (Ryan Zimmerman, via Washington Times, 4/13/2013) Braves 6, Nationals 4: Bullpen blows late lead, Zim's poor throw did 'em in (video here...

Mr. 1,000

We'd be remiss if we didn't say *something* about Ryan Zimmerman playing in game #1000 for the Nationals tonight. Through all the ups and downs (and for a while, mostly downs) Zim has been there. And what better way to mark 1,000 games than with a picture of Zim's babyfaced 2005 Topps Rookie Card. Congrats, Zim. Here's to 1000 more. Befriend Nats Enquirer on Facebook...

John Wall Redeems Himself With Much-Improved First Pitch at Nationals Game (Video)

Everyone deserves a second chance, and that’s exactly what the Washington Nationals gave Wizards guard John Wall on Thursday night. In 2011, Wall threw out one of the worst ceremonial first pitches of all time. This time, Wall got a shot at redemption. After Wall was reminded of his failure by the Nationals’ mascot, the Wizards point guard took the hill and lofted a pitch that...

Nats drop second contest to Braves behind stellar outing by Tim Hudson

  After watching a four-run lead slip away in an extra-innings loss to the Atlanta Braves on Friday night, the Washington Nationals were anxious to come back and shut the Braves down on Saturday afternoon. But Tim Hudson, Evan Gattis and an untimely error proved to be too much for the Nationals to rally against in the 3-1 loss. What we learned today: Zim isn’t invincible...

April 11: Washington Nationals 7, Chicago White Sox 4

The Washington Nationals completed the sweep of our beloved White Sox Thursday night when they defeated the Pale Hose 7-4. The Sox are now 4-5 as they head back to American League play where they'll face the Indians and Blue Jays in two more road series. AXELROD’S ROUGH OUTING It wasn’t a good start for Dylan Axelrod, and in all honesty, he’s lucky it...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.