Major League Baseball

Strasburg, Nationals visit Braves

mlb2NATIONALS (22-32) AT BRAVES (30-24)
7:20 p.m. ET; FSSE, MASN, MLB.TV

The Washington Nationals hope that veteran right-hander Stephen Strasburg can build on his last two starts when they begin a brief two-game visit to face the Eastern Division rival Atlanta Braves.

Strasburg (4-3, 3.25 ERA) will face Atlanta left-hander Max Fried (7-2, 2.88) on Tuesday in the first meeting between the teams this season.

The Nationals had their three-game winning streak broken Monday when they lost a 3-2 decision to the Marlins. Washington had lost five straight prior to the four-game Miami series.

Atlanta did not play on Memorial Day. The Braves finished a 5-2 road trip on Sunday when they erased a 3-0 deficit in the ninth inning and beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 in 10 innings.

Strasburg pitched seven innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits in his latest start, which the Nationals lost 6-4 to the New York Mets on Thursday.

On May 18, Strasburg worked eight innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits, striking out seven in a 5-2 win over the Chicago Cubs. In his five May starts, Strasburg is 2-2 with a 2.62 ERA, with 39 strikeouts in 34 1/3 innings.

“When he’s on, you can tell that he uses both fastballs — two-seamer, four-seamer — and (against the Cubs) curveball, changeup,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “But he gets ahead of hitters, and when he does that, gets ahead, he’s tough.”

Strasburg is accustomed to facing the Braves, having faced them 30 times, second most behind his 32 starts against Miami. He is 11-11 with a 4.07 ERA against Atlanta, with 199 strikeouts in 161 1/3 innings.

In his first five seasons, the Braves got the best of him, beating Strasburg in seven of 11 decisions. But over the past four seasons, Strasburg is 7-4 against Atlanta.

Strasburg last faced the Braves on July 20, 2018, when he only lasted 4 2/3 innings and allowed six runs in an 8-5 loss.

Fried, who is in his first full season in the major leagues, has won each of his past three starts. During that stretch, he has pitched 17 innings and allowed five runs (2.65 ERA). That includes a six-inning scoreless stint against the Milwaukee Brewers on May 17.

In his most recent start, Fried won Wednesday at San Francisco when he allowed two runs over six innings. In five starts in May, Fried is 4-1 with a 3.60 ERA.

“I definitely would have liked to have thrown a little better,” Fried said after his 9-2 win over the Giants. “If the offense is putting up runs for you, I want to keep them down.”

Fried will be making his third career appearance against the Nationals, his second start. He has only thrown three career innings against Washington, allowing one run on two hits.

The Braves sent right-hander Kyle Wright to Triple-A Gwinnett. He was recalled last week to provide some bullpen assistance but will return to the Gwinnett rotation. A corresponding move will be made Tuesday.

–Field Level Media

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