7:05 PM ET, September 16, 2013
Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
Atlanta: Minor (13-7, 3.15 ERA)
Washington: Haren (9-13, 5.02 ERA)
The Washington Nationals truly want to impress YouWager fans and have fought hard to get back into the wild card race.
Tonight they will continue trying when they meet the Atlanta Braves, whom they host for a three-game series starting Monday.
Washington has a major-league best 25-10 since Aug. 9 but still have dropped two of three versus Atlanta at Turner Field from Aug. 16-18 — one of only two series they dropped during that span.
The Braves have won seven of the last eight between the teams and 12 of 16 overall this MLB season. Washington is batting .205 and averaging 2.3 runs against Atlanta pitchers.
When facing everyone else, Washington (79-70) has bashed the ball.
The Nationals are batting .318 with 20 home runs while winning eight of their last nine. Just yesterday, they tied a season high with 18 hits in beating the Philadelphia Phillies 11-2 for their fourth straight series victory.
Wilson Ramos hit his fifth home run in eight games and finished 4 for 4. The 26 year-old, who tore the ACL in his right knee in 2012 and hindered this season by a bothersome left hamstring, has started a major-league best 23 straight games behind the plate.
Ramos is batting .182 versus the Braves this season, but the one Atlanta pitcher Ramos has hit well is Mike Minor, against whom he is 6 for 8.
Ramos helped send Minor (13-7, 3.15 ERA) to an early exit when he last met the Braves, lacing a two-run single in the first as Washington chased him in 1 2/3 innings of their 8-7 win Aug. 17.
According to the MLB live lines, home runs have been an issue for Minor lately, giving up five in his last three starts. The left-hander yielded three Wednesday in a 5-2 loss to Miami in which he allowed five runs and 11 hits over six innings overall.
Washington counters with Dan Haren (9-13, 5.02), who avoided losing a third straight start Wednesday by limiting the New York Mets to one hit while striking out eight in six innings of a 3-0 win.