Atlanta will send 18-game winner Kyle Wright to the mound when they open a three-game home series against the Washington Nationals on Monday.
The Braves (91-55) are fresh from a three-game sweep over the Philadelphia Phillies and remain one game behind the New York Mets in the National League East. The Nationals (51-95) lost to Miami on Sunday and have dropped eight of their last 11 games.
Atlanta has won eight straight games at home, matching their season-best streak, and improved to 50-25 at home. The Braves have won 10 of 13 games against Washington this season.
Wright (18-5, 3.18 ERA) will be opposed by Washington’s Cory Abbott (0-2, 4.37), who will make his first career start against the Braves. Wright is trying to become the first Atlanta pitcher to win 20 games since Russ Ortiz in 2003.
Wright leads the league in wins and has a five-game winning streak. His last loss came Aug. 4 against the Mets. In his last start Tuesday against the San Francisco Giants, Wright overcame a shaky beginning to pitch 5 1/3 innings and allow one run on three hits, three walks and four strikeouts.
“I was kind of lagging behind at first and once I ramped up the intensity, I felt like the arm was back on time and where it needed to be,” Wright said.
Wright is 3-1 with a 5.26 ERA in six career appearances (four starts) against the Nationals. He is 2-0 with a 3.21 ERA in two starts against Washington this season. He beat the Nats on July 14, going seven innings and allowing two runs on seven hits and a walk.
Abbott received no decision in his last start, Tuesday against the Baltimore Orioles. He pitched three-plus innings and allowed two runs on five hits, three walks and three strikeouts. The right-hander was added to the club’s 40-man roster after being claimed off waivers from San Francisco in May.
His best game was a career-high six-inning effort against the Chicago Cubs, his former team, on Aug. 17. Since then he has bounced between the rotation and the bullpen. Two of his last three appearances have been starts.
Atlanta continues to get help throughout the lineup.
Robbie Grossman, who hit ninth on Sunday, drove in two runs to give the team a major league-leading 91 RBIs from that spot in the lineup. Grossman has 21 RBIs in 105 at-bats since being acquired by the club at the trade deadline. He had 23 RBIs in 273 at-bats with the Tigers before the deal.
Washington’s Luis Garcia had his streak of reaching base end at 20 when he went 0-for-3 on Sunday, but Cesar Hernandez has reached safely in 15 straight games after going 1-for-4. Reliever Carl Edwards Jr. is 3-0 with two saves and a 1.06 ERA over his last 18 outings.
“You’re going to have to win games all sorts of ways,” said right fielder Alex Call. “I think we have a team that can do that, whether it’s putting together a few hits, hitting the long ball, grinding out at-bats. We’ve got a lot of talented players.”
–Field Level Media