The Braves and Nationals open a much-anticipated four-game series Thursday night at SunTrust Park. The first-place Braves enter the series with a seven-game lead over the second-place Nats in the NL East. Here’s a look at the pitching matchups:
Thursday: Braves' Max Fried vs. Nationals' Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg leads the NL in wins with 16. Fried has the next most with 15. … Strasburg is second in the league in strikeouts with 215 (behind the Mets' Jacob deGrom's 220). Fried struck out a career-high-matching 11 in his last start. … Strasburg (16-5) has a 3.47 ERA and has held opponents to a .216 batting average. Fried (15-4) has a 4.05 ERA, and opponents are hitting .275 against him. … Strasburg is 4-1 with a 3.21 ERA in five career starts at SunTrust Park, striking out 49 and walking seven in those games. … Strasburg is a 31-year-old right-hander, Fried a 25-year-old left-hander.
Friday: Braves' Dallas Keuchel vs. Nationals' Patrick Corbin. Both are left-handers. Both were free agents after last season. Corbin signed a six-year, $140 million contract with the Nationals in early December. Keuchel was unsigned until agreeing to a $13 million deal with the Braves for the remainder of this season in early June. … Corbin, 30, is 11-6 with a 3.19 ERA and has allowed 142 hits and struck out 201 in 174-2/3 innings. Keuchel, 31, is 6-5 with a 3.72 ERA in 14 starts, but has allowed only three runs in 25 innings over his past four starts. … Corbin and Keuchel were the starting pitchers in a July 29 game at Nationals Park, won by the Nats 6-3. Corbin allowed two earned runs on five hits in six innings; Keuchel, four earned runs on six hits in 5-1/3 innings.
Saturday: Braves' Julio Teheran vs. Nationals' Joe Ross. Teheran, a 28-year-old right-hander, will be making his 30th start of the season, marking the seventh consecutive year in which he has started 30 or more games. Ross, a 26-year-old right-hander, will be making his eighth big-league start of the season. … Teheran (9-8) has the second lowest ERA (3.38) and the lowest opponent batting average (.226) among the Braves' starters. He has walked 76 batters in 157-1/3 innings. … Ross (3-4) allowed seven runs in 3-2/3 innings in his last start Monday vs. the Mets, but allowed just three runs in 25-2/3 innings in August. His 6.17 ERA includes 18 relief appearances.
Sunday: Braves' Mike Soroka vs. Nationals' Max Scherzer. Soroka and Scherzer rank second and third among NL qualifiers in ERA, Soroka No. 2 at 2.53 and Scherzer No. 3 at 2.60. The Dodgers' Hyun-Jin Ryu leads the league with a 2.35 ERA. … Scherzer is a three-time Cy Young Award winner and a seven-time All-Star. Soroka made the All-Star team as a rookie this year. … Scherzer is averaging an NL-leading 12.53 strikeouts per nine innings. ... Scherzer allowed four earned runs in six innings Tuesday against the Mets, but before that had allowed two runs or fewer in 11 of his past 12 starts. Soroka has allowed a combined 10 runs in his past five starts. … Scherzer (9-5) is a 35-year-old right-hander, Soroka (11-3) a 22-year-old right-hander. This is a stellar matchup to complete the series.
» MORE ON THE SERIES: 'Biggest game to date' opens key stretch for Braves