The Atlanta Braves went down to Milwaukee and did the impossible. They were swept by the Brewers, all while the Washington Nationals were sweeping the New York Mets, extending their lead in the National League East ahead of the Braves to 8.5 games. This weekend, the top two teams in the East will meet when the Nationals travel to Turner Field in a series the Braves can ill-afford to lose. What are the pitching matchups for each game?
Friday, September 14, 7:35 p.m. ET: Kris Medlen vs. Ross Detwiler
If it wasn't for Medlen, the Braves might be completely out of the race for the NL East division. Since getting a chance to start, he has gone 7-0 in eight starts with just five earned runs allowed in 55 2/3 innings. Overall on the season, he is 8-1 with a 1.64 ERA and has thrown two complete game shutouts in his last five starts.
Detwiler has been sort of the unsung hero in the Washington rotation this season. He is 9-6 with a 3.23 ERA in 23 starts and much like the rest of the Nationals' rotation, has done a great job of keeping his BAA down.
Saturday, September 15, 4:05 p.m. ET: Tommy Hanson vs. Edwin Jackson
Hanson has been one of the biggest disappointments for the Braves this season. He was expected to become the staff ace, but instead has been stuck in an inconsistent season that has seen him go 12-8 with a 4.35 ERA. After limiting the opposition to a .219 average a year ago, his BAA has sky-rocketed to .271 this season and his WHIP isn't much better at 1.46.
Jackson has gone 9-10 with a 3.85 ERA and has pitched better than his record shows. He has given up far too many home runs this season, but is doing a better job of getting outs this season than he has in the past.
Sunday, September 16, 8:05 p.m. ET: Mike Minor vs. Gio Gonzalez
This Sunday Night Baseball battle will be the pitching matchup of the series. The Braves will send their 8-10 lefty to the hill to battle Washington's 19-7 lefty. Minor has been one of the best pitchers in the league since the All-Star break, and his ERA is proof of that. A mark that was once nearing 7.00 is now down to 4.42.
In his first year in the NL, Gonzalez has turned into a legitimate Cy Young candidate. That is something I expected out of him when news came that he was joining the Nationals. He has been better for the Nationals than even Stephen Strasburg and could be the reason why this team wins the World Series.
For access to Atlanta Braves season recaps from 1990-present, a look at trades that changed Braves history, or a look at the greatest award winners in team history, go here.
More from this contributor:
Hobson Lopes has been a life-long Atlanta Braves fan, thanks to TBS, and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.
- Sports & Recreation
- Atlanta Braves
- Washington Nationals