ATLANTA -- The Washington Nationals are heating up, which is bad news for the Atlanta Braves.The Nationals travel to Atlanta to start a three-game series Friday. Theyve won eight of their last 10 and just took two of three from the New York Mets, leaving them with a 10-game cushion in the National League East.The Braves are headed the other way. They are 2-4 on their current homestand and won only two of their last nine as they try to avoid their first 100-loss season since 1988.Now the sagging Braves must host their biggest nemesis. The Nationals are 14-2 against the Braves this year, including a three-game sweep last week in Washington. The Braves have won only two games in its last 25 tries against the Nats. Atlanta needs to go 7-9 or better to avoid a 100-loss season.Were trying to win every game we play, Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. Were playing every game like it was the seventh game of the World Series. Were not going to lay down and give in.Meanwhile, Washingtons magic number to clinch the division is seven.Im not a big stat guy, said bench coach Chris Speier, who was acting as manager while Dusty Baker was attending a family funeral. The magic number stuff? No. You play one game. Win one game. Dont worry about anything else.The first game of the series features Washingtons veteran right-hander Max Scherzer (16-7, 2.78 ERA) against Atlanta rookie right-hander John Gant (1-3, 4.40).Scherzer is on a four-game winning streak, although he received a no-decision in his last start when he threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings and struck out eight against the Phillies. He is 11-3 since June 1.Scherzer beat the Braves on Sept. 5. He pitched seven innings and allowed two runs on seven hits with five strikeouts. In his career against Atlanta, Scherzer is 4-3 with a 3.84 ERA in 11 appearances (nine starts).Gant makes his 16th appearance and seventh start. He pitched a scoreless inning of relief in his only appearance against Washington on April 6. Gants last start came against the Mets on Sept. 10, when he received a no-decision after allowing three runs (one earned) in 4 2/3 innings.Both teams may be missing a key player. Washingtons Danny Espinosa left the team Wednesday after the game to join his wife in California, where their first child is due. Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman left his team in the seventh inning Wednesday to join his wife for the birth of their first child.The Braves would really miss Freemans bat. He is riding a 20-game hitting streak, the longest in the National League this season, and has reached base in a career-best 36 straight contests. Wholesale NIKE NFL Jerseys . The showiest items on Calgarys lot were forwards Mike Cammalleri and Lee Stempniak. Both will be unrestricted free agents this summer. China Jerseys . Gerald Green and Miles Plumlee? 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ATHENS, Ga. -- There has been no change in Georgias three-man competition at quarterback.The No. 18 Bulldogs are moving closer to the one-week countdown before their Sept. 3 opener against No. 22 North Carolina, and coach Kirby Smart still hasnt narrowed the competition to two quarterbacks.Smart said Wednesday the competition is not really any clearer.Were going to eventually narrow it down to two, Smart said. We havent done that yet. I dont have a timeline for doing it.This quarterback competition is old hat for center Brandon Kublanow and other Georgia veteran players.I did it last year so its nothing crazy or new to me, he said Tuesday.One year ago, former coach Mark Richt announced Virginia transfer Greyson Lambert as the starter less than a week before the Bulldogs opener. Lambert beat out Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta and held the job most of the season.Now Lambert and Ramsey are competing against freshman Jacob Eason, who was the biggest name in Smarts first recruiting class. Eason, from Lake Stevens, Washington, is widely expected to take the job at some point this season.Smart said he hoped to find more clarity here in the next couple of days, but nobody has jumped out right now.Last week, Smart said each quarterback continued to make bonehead plays.Smart may not reveal his starter before the opener, though he acknowledged there may be no strategic advantage to keeping a decision private.Its different when you have truly distinct, different quarterbacks to get ready for, but thats not always the case with our guys because none of our guys are truly dual-threat guys, he ssaid.ddddddddddddhere was no sign of leader at the position in the brief, early portion of Wednesdays practice open to reporters. Lambert, Eason and Ramsey alternated snaps as theyve done throughout preseason practice.Last week, Smart said Eason was given more snaps with the starters only to catch up with the other quarterbacks.On Wednesday, Smart said Were still working through it. All three guys are still working and rotating.Asked if any quarterback has proved he can flourish as the starter, Smart said I think all three of them at times have and all three at times havent.Some coaches prefer to announce a starter at least one week before the season in order to give the team time to adjust. Smart said that is not necessary.The team is behind whoever is back there, he said. We saw that since day one. It doesnt matter who it is.Kublanow said any of the three will have support of the players.I think all of them have done a great job, he said. ... Well see what happens this week.Game notes Freshman RB Elijah Holyfield, the son of former boxing champion Evander Holyfield, rode a stationary bike in practice as he continues to recover from a right ankle sprain. ... RB Sony Michel (broken forearm) still has not been cleared to play. If healthy, Michel is the top backup to Nick Chubb, who has made a strong comeback from knee surgery. ... 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