ATLANTA -- Braves third baseman Chipper Jones had nothing but admiration for the Nationals and their right-hander, Stephen Strasburg, who will be pitching against Atlanta on Saturday afternoon at 4:05 p.m. ET.
In fact, Jones went so far as to say that Strasburg has the best repertoire of pitchers he has ever seen in his 19 years in the big leagues.
"He has the best stuff, the best repertoire of pitches, that I've seen on any one single pitcher," Jones said. "He is like a Kerry Wood in his prime and Justin Verlander hybrid.
"[Strasburg] has the fastball, just like those two, the breaking ball just like those two. The changeup is what sets him apart. Verlander has a good changeup, but it is a circle change. It kind of fades away. [Strasburg's changeup] is a 90-plus [mph] split that falls off the table. When you are geared up going for 95-96 and he throws you 90 and the bottom drops out of it, it's a pretty lethal combination."
As for the Nationals as a team, Jones feels they are a club on the rise because of its pitching staff. He also believes once position players such as Michael Morse and Mark DeRosa recover from their injuries, the team "is going to be doubly tough."
Jones believes the Nationals could become like the Phillies when they had a powerful rotation and position players Ryan Howard and Chase Utley were healthy.
"They have the best starting five in the game -- no doubt," Jones said about the Nationals' rotation. "They have power at the top of the rotation. They have power all the way through. All their guys throw 94 to 98, sometimes 100.
"Their bullpen is nothing to sneeze at. They have some good quality lefty/righty arms. The reason they have been able to sustain their level of play through all their injuries to their everyday players is the fact their pitchers keep them in the game, night in and night out. That's the right formula."