Mon, 04 Dec 2023

Braves bid for 100th win in doubleheader vs. Nationals

Field Level Media
24 Sep 2023, 02:05 GMT+10

(Photo credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports)

The Atlanta Braves didn't need a break with their suddenly hot bats, but that's what they received this weekend.

With a postponement Saturday in Washington, the Braves and Nationals will finish their series with Sunday's day-night doubleheader.

That left time to ponder another accomplishment for Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr., whose 40th home run Friday night added to his sterling season. He has 68 stolen bases and 101 RBIs.

"I didn't think I was going to be able to get it this year just because I knew I was hitting well, but I wasn't really getting a lot of homers," said Acuna, who has gone deep 10 times in September.

The Braves (99-55) already own the National League East title and can move closer to homefield advantage for the playoffs.

This doubleheader will conclude the home schedule for the Nationals (68-87). These are Atlanta's final road games of the regular season.

The teams knew Friday night about the schedule adjustment. With impact from a major coastal storm moving into the area, the Nationals announced that there would be no baseball in the nation's capital on Saturday.

They have one more day in front of their fans.

"Leave on a good note, come back in spring training ready to do the same thing," outfielder Lane Thomas said.

The Braves will give right-hander Kyle Wright (0-3, 7.71 ERA) another start in Sunday's first game in a bid to get on track. This will be his third start since May, and the last two haven't gone well has he allowed 10 runs across a total of seven innings -- all against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Wright, who missed several months with a shoulder ailment, said he improved in the second of those stints.

"I was more consistent in the strike zone than I was last time," Wright said. "I just think it comes down to execution. I think that was the big change. A lot of those pitches that were hit out (for three home runs allowed), I just didn't think I threw them very well. I think sometimes I'm having trouble finding the feel of the game a little bit."

This pretty much seems like a last-ditch audition to see if Wright is going to be capable of contributing in the postseason. It figures that he'll have one more turn in the rotation during the regular season.

"We'll see where Kyle's at," manager Brian Snitker said. "We can push him to another just like he's going through spring training pretty much right now. Then in the end when it's all said and done, we'll see where he's at."

Wright has had more success against the Nationals than any other team with a 4-1 record and 4.83 ERA in seven appearances (five starts).

Right-hander Joan Adon (2-3, 6.28) is pegged as Washington's starting pitcher for Game 1. He has lost his last three decisions, and in three September outings he has surrendered 11 runs in 14 innings.

"In high leverage situations, you've got to make pitches," Nationals manager Davey Martinez said. "Some of the things we talk about with him, when he gets into trouble, he needs to slow the game down a little bit."

Adon has never faced the Braves.

The pitching matchups for the second game seem less clear. The Braves were trending toward a bullpen day, while the Nationals could be making further adjustments after announcing that Trevor Williams would skip a start before making a final appearance later next week.

"He wants to finish the year off," Martinez said. "I thought the best thing was to skip him one, and then let him have one more."

--Field Level Media

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