Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Strasburg assumes stage as Nats, Braves wrap set

Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg, who is entering the final year on his contract, will make his season debut against Bud Norris and the Braves when the two teams wrap up a two-game series on Wednesday at Turner Field.
Strasburg closed 2015 with perhaps the most dominant stretch of his career; posting a 1.90 ERA with 92 strikeouts in his final 10 starts. After battling through a plethora of injuries last season, Strasburg enters 2016 healthy. That has prompted manager Dusty Baker to predict that he could have a huge year.
Norris will try to bounce back from a disappointing 2015, in which he posted a 6.79 ERA in 11 starts before he was released by the Orioles. Atlanta is hoping he can return to form from '14, when he posted a 3.65 ERA and made two playoff starts for Baltimore.
Three things to know about this game
• Strasburg did not allow a run in 11 innings against the Braves in 2015, holding Atlanta to 10 hits with 13 strikeouts and two walks.
• Freddie Freeman has punished all Nationals pitching in his career, but he has been especially good against Strasburg. The slugger enters the game batting .429 with three homers in 28 career at-bats against Strasburg.
• Bryce Harper is approaching his 100th career home run. His solo blast in the first inning Monday was the 98th of his career.

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