Nats’ Voth takes aim at first career win against Braves

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Washington’s Austin Voth will try to earn his first career win against the Atlanta Braves, who will dip into their bullpen for a starter when the two clubs meet Tuesday in the second game of a three-game set in Atlanta.

The Braves won the first game in dramatic fashion on Monday. They hit a pair of two-run homers in the ninth inning to overcome a three-run deficit, getting blasts from Adam Duvall and a walk-off from Dansby Swanson.

Voth (0-2, 3.21) will be opposed by veteran Atlanta pitcher Josh Tomlin (0-1, 1.59), who will make his start of the year.

Voth has four career appearances, three of them starts, against the Braves and has pitched well despite having nothing to show for it but an 0-1 record. He has a 2.70 ERA, allowing only five runs in 16 2/3 career innings against Atlanta.

Voth will make his fourth start of the season. His best outing came on Aug. 8 when he fired five shutout innings against Baltimore. In his last start on Aug. 13 against the New York Mets, he gave up three runs in four innings and was on the cusp of some controversy.

The Nationals argued that Voth was getting squeezed by home plate umpire Carlos Torres. Teammate Stephen Strasburg, watching from the stands, was arguing so loudly that he was ejected. Voth said he appreciated the support.

“It makes me feel good, just knowing that he has my back and knowing that he’s watching me pitch and got eyes on the umpire to see how the game is going and whatnot,” Voth said. “He’s fighting for me. That’s great. That’s what I want.”

Tomlin, who has been the Braves’ most versatile and dependable reliever, will make his first start since 2019. After spending most of his career as a starter, he morphed into a swingman for Cleveland in 2018 and had 50 relief appearances for Atlanta in 2019. His only start was in an interleague contest against Kansas City on Sept. 25 when the Braves were setting up their rotation for the playoffs. Tomlin permitted one run in three innings as Atlanta won 10-2.

“You never really lose that starter mentality, you just go to the bullpen and kind of develop a new mentality for that particular role you’re in,” Tomlin said. “But I’ve started for eight or nine years of my career, so this isn’t going to be anything new to me, for sure.”

Tomlin has allowed only two runs in 11 1/3 innings this season, with 16 strikeouts and only three walks.

Tomlin said he would be content with whatever role he’s asked to play.

“Whatever they want me to do, I’ll be very capable of doing it,” he said. “I don’t think going three, four, five, six, seven innings — you’re going to be seeing the same soreness after four innings anyways, as you would be if you went seven. It’s all about the same to me.”

He has made eight previous appearances against Washington, with one start, and is 0-1 with a 4.61 ERA against the Nationals.

Tomlin must beware of Washington’s red-hot Juan Soto, who belted a 445-foot homer on Monday. Soto has seven homers this season and six in the first eight games of the team’s current 10-game road trip. Soto is hitting .433 (13-for-30) with 13 RBI and 13 runs scored on the trip.

–Field Level Media

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