The Atlanta Braves went winless on an eight-game road trip and hope their fortunes begin to change when they open a 10-game homestand against the Washington Nationals on Friday. The Braves have slipped 4 1/2 games behind Washington in the National League East due to their deep slump but are 7-3 against the Nationals this season. Washington sends Stephen Strasburg to the mound for the opener against Ervin Santana.Outfielder Bryce Harper is experiencing a disappointing campaign but he was the hero on Thursday when he belted a two-run walk-off homer in the 13th inning to give the Nationals a 5-3 win over the New York Mets. The blast was only the fourth of the season and first since July 18 for Harper, who has struggled since returning from a two-month absence due to a thumb injury. The Braves are playing three first-place teams on the long homestand - three against the Nationals, four against the Los Angeles Dodgers and three against the Oakland Athletics.TV: 7:35 p.m. ET, MASN2 (Washington), FSN South (Atlanta) PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Stephen Strasburg (8-9, 3.39 ERA) vs. Braves RH Ervin Santana (10-6, 3.59) Strasburg snapped a three-start losing streak by striking out 10 and giving up three hits in seven shutout innings against Philadelphia on Sunday. He has allowed just seven hits and three walks in 14 innings over his last two outings after giving up four runs in each of his previous two starts. Strasburg is 3-5 with a 4.04 ERA in 14 career starts against the Braves and is 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA in two starts this season against Atlanta.Santana has won three consecutive decisions and five of his last six. He received a no-decision against San Diego in his last turn when he allowed two runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings. He is 0-1 with a 3.82 ERA in five career starts against the Nationals with the loss occurring on June 22 when he gave up three runs and six hits in six innings.WALK-OFFS 1. Atlanta was outscored 41-18 during its eight-game trip against the Dodgers, San Diego and Seattle.2. Washington CF Denard Span had four hits on Thursday and has reached base in each of his last 33 games.3. Braves SS Andrelton Simmons (ankle) is unlikely to play in the opener and Atlanta has yet to decide if he needs a stint on the 15-day disabled list.PREDICTION: Nationals 3, Braves 2