Atlanta (87-68) at Washington (66-89)

Light Rain Currently: Washington, DC
Temp: 75° F
  • Game info: 1:35 pm EDT Sun Sep 26, 2010
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Brandon Beachy(notes) learned he would make his major league debut only four hours ahead of time. He was ready the next time the Atlanta Braves needed him.

That would be Sunday, when the Braves continue their battle for the wild card in a matchup with the Washington Nationals.

With Jair Jurrjens(notes) suffering from a sore right knee, Beachy was brought up from the instructional league last Saturday night as insurance. Atlanta turned to the rookie shortly before its game at NL East-leading Philadelphia when Jurrjens was unable to make his start.

Beachy gave up three runs - one earned - over 4 1-3 innings of a 3-1 loss.

“I thought he pitched great,” catcher Brian McCann(notes) told the team’s official website. “Coming into this atmosphere and making your major league debut, you couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Beachy (0-1, 2.08 ERA) has spent most of the week preparing for another start, and learned Friday that he would take the ball again when Jurrjens ended his bullpen session after 10 pitches.

“I was throwing my bullpens and doing everything like I was going to start in case I did,” Beachy told the team’s website. “I feel pretty good going into it.”

The Braves (87-68) need a good outing from the right-hander as they battle for the wild card and the 15th postseason appearance of manager Bobby Cox’s 24-plus seasons with the franchise.

Cox, in his final season, got his 2,500th victory as his team snapped a four-game slide with a 5-0 win Saturday. A 9-9 record against last-place Washington (66-89) has cost Atlanta, which is locked in a back-and-forth battle San Diego for the wild card.

The Nationals will be trying to win the season series for the second time in three years.

The Braves batted .177 during their losing streak, but got a three-run homer from Alex Gonzalez(notes) on Saturday.

“It was a good win,” Cox said. “Maybe (it will) get the team rolling, get a little momentum going.”

Atlanta, though, managed five hits over eight innings against Livan Hernandez(notes) (10-12, 3.75) in a 6-0 loss to Washington on Sept. 14. The right-hander wasn’t able to build on the performance Monday, giving up a season high-tying eight runs - four earned - in five innings of an 8-2 loss to Houston.

Hernandez is 2-1 with a 2.19 ERA in four starts against the Braves this season. He has gone 4-1 with a 2.68 ERA in his past seven starts versus Atlanta after going 3-15 with a 5.63 ERA over his first 24.

Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman(notes) might sit out Sunday with a rib injury and could miss the rest of the season. Zimmerman, batting .307, is trying to become the first Washington-based player to hit .300 since Buddy Lewis in 1940.

“It could be fine tomorrow or it could be two weeks,” manager Jim Riggleman said.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Beachy LAD vs. L. Hernandez Mil
0-2 Record 10-12
3.00 ERA 3.66
15 K 114
7 BB 64
1.53 WHIP 1.32


Sunday, Sep 26