Federal Baseball Talks Washington Nationals With The SBN Atlanta Braves Site, Talking Chop.

In anticipation of the start of this week's three-game series (which begins tonight at 7:00 pm EST in NatsTown) with the Washington Nationals' NL East rivals from Atlanta I agreed to answer a few questions from the SB Nation's Braves site, Talking Chop:

Talking Chop: The Nationals are coming into the series with a record of 13-12 and have been one of the biggest surprises of the early season. What has gone well for the Nats early in the 2010 season?

Federal Baseball: I don't think anyone thought Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez would be hitting .400 through his first 19 games, considering he was signed to share time behind the plate with Jesus Flores, whose recovery from surgery has taken longer than expected. Pudge has unexpectedly ended up as the Nationals' (just about) everyday starter. I'd also guess that Livan Hernandez winning three of his first four starts while anchoring the starting rotation is a surprise to some. Adam Dunn's not hitting much, but when he does he doubles or goes deep and the rest of the time he's walking and even playing respectable defense at first to compensate for his lack of production. But the biggest improvement is in the Nats' bullpen where Matt Capps has converted 10 of 10 save opportunities with the help of set-up man Tyler Clippard and some at-times exceptional defense from Willie Harris and Nyjer Morgan. Pitching and defense to put it simply, that's what's gone well.

• Read The Entire Q&A HERE.

(ed. note - "Nobody over there seems to believe I chose Zim/Stras over JHey/Hanson...who'd you take?)

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