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May 30, 2024 8:49 am

Nationals turn to Trevor Williams in series finale vs. Braves

Trevor Williams

Washington’s Trevor Williams will try to keep his record unblemished on Thursday night when the visiting Nationals complete their four-game series against the Atlanta Braves.

Washington recorded its second win of the series with a 7-2 victory on Wednesday.

Williams (4-0, 2.29 ERA) will oppose Atlanta’s Reynaldo Lopez (2-2, 1.75) in a battle of right-handers.

Williams will make his 11th start of the season and has gone three outings without earning a decision. In his most recent start, Saturday against the Seattle Mariners, he pitched five innings and allowed one run on five hits, no walks and tied his season high with eight strikeouts as the Nationals won 3-1.

Williams will face the Braves for the 11th time and make his seventh start against them. He is 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA as a starter and has not allowed more than two runs in any of his last five starts against Atlanta.

Washington’s last two starters, Jake Irvin and MacKenzie Gore, have produced back-to-back 10-strikeout performances.

Lopez will make his 10th start and is seeking his first win since April 16. He lost his most recent start Saturday in a 4-1 defeat to the Pittsburgh Pirates after working 4 2/3 innings and giving up three runs (two earned) on five hits. It was his shortest outing of the year.

Lopez has made only one career start against Washington, and that came in 2019 when he played for the Chicago White Sox. He took the loss after allowing six runs in four innings.

The Nationals have benefited from getting right fielder Lane Thomas back in the lineup for this series. He had missed a month with a left ACL sprain. Thomas went 3-for-4 and hit a three-run blast on Wednesday, his first homer since April 14 against Oakland. Thomas is 5-for-13 with three runs and three RBIs in the series against the Braves.

Thomas said he benefited from spending time in Triple-A on a rehab assignment before being activated.

“All you can do is take all your at-bats seriously,” he said. “There are some good arms down there, guys with big-league stuff. It gave me confidence taking some good at-bats.”

But the Nationals may have lost third baseman Nick Senzel. He walked off the field with a right knee injury in the second inning on Wednesday. Washington got another scare when center fielder Jacob Young was hit in the head by a pitch, but he stayed in the game and later produced a two-run single.

In the wake of the season-ending injury to Ronald Acuna Jr., the Braves are sticking with the plan to play Adam Duvall in right field and Jarred Kelenic in left. The two had been platooning — Duvall against lefties and Kelenic vs. right-handers.

“I’m just looking forward to the opportunity to go out there every single day,” Kelenic said. “I feel comfortable.”

Duvall said, “I just show up ready to play, and wherever they put me, that’s where I go play, and I’ll try to impact the game.”

Another option is former big leaguer Ramon Laureano, who signed a minor-league deal Wednesday and was assigned to Triple-A Gwinnett.

“You just keep adding depth wherever you can,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said.

–Field Level Media

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