Even with two days off this week, the Nationals’ rotation will stay on turn ahead of next week’s crucial series against the Atlanta Braves, Manager Davey Johnson said. Johnson considered changing the order to take advantage of the days off Monday and Thursday book-ending a two-game series in Detroit, but opted not to so the team’s top three starters could face the Braves.
Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann, in that order, will pitch against Atlanta from Aug. 5 to 7 when the Braves travel to Washington. Strasburg and Gonzalez will start the two games in Detroit, and Zimmermann will pitch in the series opener in Milwaukee on Friday. Dan Haren and Taylor Jordan will close out the three-game series against the Brewers.
Strasburg has faced the Braves three times this season already, including an injury-abbreviated start, and has a 1.93 ERA in 14 innings. He has a 3.55 ERA in 10 career starts against Atlanta. Gonzalez has made three starts against the Braves this season and struggled, compiling a 7.31 ERA in 16 innings. The left-hander’s last start against them was better, as he allowed only one run in seven innings. Zimmermann has a career 2.97 ERA against the Braves in six starts, including eight scoreless innings on May 1 in his only start against them this year.
Jordan has only made six major league starts and has yet to face the Braves. Haren delivered his best start of the season in his only outing so far this year against Atlanta, allowing one run on four hits in eight innings.
When the NL East rivals meet next week, it will have been more than two months since they last faced each other in a three-game series that ended in early June. The Braves have won seven of 10 meetings this season.