Jul 20, 2012, 7:47 PM EDT
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Birthday boy Stephen Strasburg faces the Braves tonight at Nationals Park.
I feel like I suggest this notion every few weeks, but tonight the Nationals open arguably the biggest series in team history. (And, assuming things continue the way they have been, I'll probably be making the same declaration several more times over the next two months.) But you can't dispute the importance of this four-games-in-three-days showdown with the Braves, who enter 3 1/2 games back in the NL East.
And who better to send to the mound for tonight's opener than Stephen Strasburg, who will be pitching on his 24th birthday (and hoping to have better luck against the Braves than he did earlier this month in the record heat at Turner Field)? Ian Desmond, meanwhile, is back in the Nationals' lineup for the first time in six days, an encouraging sign. And throwing out the ceremonial first pitch: None other than ex-Nationals closer Chad Cordero.
The forecast isn't great — good chance of storms throughout the afternoon and evening — but with a doubleheader scheduled tomorrow, they'll do whatever they can to try to get this one in.
Check back for updates…
ATLANTA BRAVES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 185
Weather: Storms, 79 degrees, Wind 12 mph in from CF
LF Steve Lombardozzi
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
NL EAST STANDINGS
Through Monday's games
NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Monday's games
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
(End of regular season)
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- Predicting who makes the Nationals' playoff roster
- Yankees claim former Nats OF prospect off waivers
- State of the Nats: Final week before playoffs brings tough decisions
- Braves fire GM Frank Wren after missing playoff
- Report: Braves likely to make 'significant' changes this winter
- LaRoche: Nats unlikely to bring me back in '15
- PHOTO: Nats get hero's welcome at Dulles on Sunday night
- As October looms, Strasburg and Nats are peaking
- Strasburg solves struggles in Miami, Nats win 2-1
- Barrett's role expanding with September surge