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Washington Nationals vs Atlanta Braves Series Preview: Nats look to snap Braves’ winning streak

While the Washington Nationals won a pair of nail-biting walk-offs over the weekend, the Atlanta Braves were busy winning four straight.

San Diego Padres v Atlanta Braves Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Nationals vs. Braves Series Info:

Game 1: Tuesday, April 18 at 7:35 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Wednesday, April 19 at 7:35 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7 The Fan)

Game 3: Thursday, April 20 at 7:35 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7 The Fan)

Pitching Matchups:

Tuesday: Max Scherzer (1-1, 2.13 ERA) vs. Mike Foltynewicz (0-1, 6.35)

Wednesday: TBA (Joe Ross?) vs. Julio Teheran (1-0, 0.95)

Thursday: Stephen Strasburg (1-0, 3.00) vs. R.A. Dickey (1-1, 3.86)

What to watch for:

Nats bullpen still picking up the pieces:

The Nationals’ relief corps has thrown the fifth fewest innings in the majors so far this season, yet is tied for sixth in earned runs allowed.

Washington’s bullpen has struggled with the long ball and nearly everyone’s been a victim — Koda Glover is the only reliever that made the Opening Day roster who hasn’t given up at least one home run.

Atlanta’s offense isn’t dominant by any means, but if the starters don’t take care of business, the Nats could find themselves in some tight situations late in games.

Bryce Harper showing all signs of his former MVP self:

Entering play Monday, Bryce Harper ranks second in the National League in RBIs (13), tied for second in walks (10), tied for third in runs scored (12), tied for fourth in homers (4) and seventh in OPS (1.099).

Hitting in front of Daniel Murphy certainly helps, but Harper looks like last year’s struggles are far behind him.

After scoring the winning run on a Murphy walk-off on Friday then doing it himself with a three-run home run to end the game Sunday, Harper is once again proving to be one of the most dangerous hitters in the game.

Braves winning with unique blend of young and veteran talent:

Expectations weren’t very high for the Braves entering the season after finishing with 67 wins a year ago, but the front office acquired several veterans over the offseason that have complemented their young stars nicely so far.

Bartolo Colon, R.A Dickey and Brandon Phillips were all brought in the past winter and have been producing enough to help younger players Dansby Swanson, Julio Teheran and Ender Inciarte lead the team.

The NL East is going to be tough to wrestle away from the Nats and New York Mets, but if Atlanta can continue its winning ways a Wild Card berth is certainly possible.

Who to watch out for - Freddie Freeman:

MLB: San Diego Padres at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

A player Nats fans know well, Freddie Freeman has been the kryptonite for Washington pitching his entire career — evidenced by his .327/.394/.514 slash line in 414 plate appearances against the Nationals.

With Freeman at the heart of a lineup that isn’t known for its scoring ability but does have a considerable amount of power, Nats’ starters should by no means be looking past this matchup with the Braves.