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Jun 6, 2024 7:52 am

Braves look for measure of revenge vs. Nationals

Reynaldo Lopez

National League East rivals looking to move on from debacles meet on Thursday when the Atlanta Braves open a four-game series at the Washington Nationals.

Atlanta was shut out 9-0 by the Red Sox in Boston on Wednesday while the Nationals were routed 9-1 as the New York Mets completed a three-game sweep.

The Nationals took three of four from the Braves last week in Atlanta. Atlanta will look for better fortune this time around.

Braves right-hander Reynaldo Lopez (3-2, 1.73 ERA) opposes left-hander Mitchell Parker (4-3, 3.60) in the opener.

Lopez has emerged as a solid addition to the rotation for the Braves, making the transition back to starter after starting just one game in 129 appearances out of the bullpen the last two seasons.

Lopez comes in off a victory over the Oakland Athletics on Friday, when he allowed just one run on four hits with a season-high eight strikeouts. It was his fifth straight game that he allowed just two runs or fewer and the ninth time in 10 starts this season.

Lopez began his career with the Nationals back in 2016 before being traded to the Chicago White Sox in 2017. He has faced Washington just once in his career, giving up six runs on five hits in a loss back in 2019.

Parker has allowed three runs in each of his last four games, going 2-2 during that span, with one victory coming at the Braves in an 8-4 win on May 27, when he allowed five hits and struck out six in 6 1/3 innings. That was his only career meeting with Atlanta.

Parker lost 3-2 to the Cleveland Guardians in his last outing on Saturday. He did not allow a homer after surrendering at least one in each of the prior four games.

The Braves were held to one hit by Nick Pivetta and two relievers on Wednesday while being shut out for the first time since falling 3-0 to the Toronto Blue Jays on May 12, 2023. Atlanta is 5-7 in its last 12 games.

“We’re definitely not panicking, and we’re just trying to get better each and every day,” Braves left fielder Jarred Kelenic said. “And I think that’s why this season is 162 games. It’s OK to have a couple bad stretches. The good thing is that we’re feeling good, and we’re just going to keep doing it.”

The Braves did catch one break. Kelenic dove for a ball and rolled his wrist as he caught it. He eventually exited the game but said X-rays on his wrist were negative.

Washington was shut out for seven innings by Luis Severino before stringing together three hits and a sacrifice fly in the eighth. Unlike the first two games, the Nationals did not threaten in the ninth. They were outscored 23-11 in the three games.

“Rough series,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “But we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve got another tough team coming in. We’ve got to be ready to play tomorrow.”

Nationals shortstop CJ Abrams went 0-for-3 and is 1-for-21 over his past five games.

–Field Level Media

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