Major League Baseball
Preview
Washington at Atlanta
When: 7:10 PM ET, Monday, April 27, 2015
Where: Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia

The Washington Nationals were overwhelming favorites to win the National League East this season, but injuries and offensive struggles have led to a 7-12 start. The Nationals open a three-game series Monday at the Atlanta Braves looking to snap a five-game losing streak, and received more bad news Sunday when Max Scherzer was ruled out of Tuesday’s start due to a sore right thumb.

The Nationals are hitting just .218 and while shortstop Yunel Escobar has reached base in 16 consecutive games, Washington stalwarts Ryan Zimmerman (.205) and Jayson Werth (.171) are off to rough starts. The Braves wrapped up a 3-6 road trip by losing two of three to the Phillies, recording six errors in the series. Freddie Freeman errors allowed the eventual winning run to score in losses Friday and Sunday. Atlanta is 24-14 against Washington since the beginning of 2013.

TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, ESPN, MASN (Washington), SportSouth (Atlanta)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Doug Fister (1-0, 2.37 ERA) vs. Braves LH Eric Stults (0-1, 4.50)

Fister allowed five runs for only the third time in 28 starts with Washington his last time out, surrendering four earned runs on seven hits in six innings against St. Louis. He gave up one earned run across his first two starts, getting a no-decision and a victory in two matchups with Philadelphia. Fister has won all three career starts against the Braves, posting a 1.23 ERA with 13 hits allowed in 22 innings.

Stults rebounded from two shaky starts with a strong performance in a no-decision Wednesday against the Mets, allowing one run on four hits with no walks and five strikeouts. The 35-year-old has limited opponents to a .188 batting average in the first three innings, but a .357 mark with three homers surrendered in innings four through six. Stults makes his fourth career start against Washington, posting a 1-1 record with a 5.17 ERA in one matchup in 2013 and two last season.

WALK-OFFS

1. Atlanta made only one error in its first 12 games, but has committed nine in its past six contests.

2. Washington OF Bryce Harper is hitting .320 in his past nine games with three homers, eight RBIs and 14 walks.

3. Braves SS Andrelton Simmons has collected hits in nine of his past 10 games, batting .315 with six RBIs during that stretch.

PREDICTION: Nationals 4, Braves 1
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Washington 7-12 L5 5-5 2-7 5-8 1-2 0-0 1-2
Atlanta 9-9 L1 3-3 6-6 7-8 0-0 0-0 2-1
Last Meeting
Washington Atlanta
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
9/17/14 WAS 1 ATL 3 .172 1 .536 .233 0 .536
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Washington N/A
Atlanta N/A
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Washington A. Barrett 0 0 0
Atlanta L. Avilan 0 0 0
Pitching ERA Avg K
Washington 0.00 .000 0
Atlanta 0.00 .000 0
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Washington Y. Escobar .292 19 .792
Atlanta N. Markakis .339 21 .809
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Washington B. Harper 5 12 11
Atlanta F. Freeman 4 11 8
Pitching ERA Avg K
Washington 3.55 .218 142
Atlanta 3.60 .237 116