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Washington Nationals vs Los Angeles Angels Series Preview: Anaheim hosts battle of the MVPs

All eyes will be on Bryce Harper and Mike Trout in this two-game series to see which former MVP makes the bigger statement.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals (56-36) vs. Angels (46-49) Series Info:

Game 1: Tuesday, July 18 at 10:07 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Wednesday, July 19 at 10:07 p.m. EST (ESPN/106.7)

Pitching Matchups:

Tuesday: Edwin Jackson (0-0, 7.20 ERA) vs. Jesse Chavez (5-10, 4.99)

Wednesday: Gio Gonzalez (8-4, 2.66) vs. Ricky Nolasco (4-10, 4.82)

What to watch for:

Which young phenom will shine the brightest?

It’s no secret that Mike Trout and Bryce Harper are among the best players in baseball, but any matchup between this duo is going to have an even bigger spotlight.

Since the Trout and Harper won the AL and NL Rookie of the Year Awards in 2012, the two have been thrust on a career path that will forever leave their histories intertwined.

They may not be Williams and DiMaggio just yet, but with three MVPs and 328 career home runs between them — all before either of them turns 26 years old — there’s certainly room to believe that one day they could be.

Gio Gonzalez continues to make case for biggest All-Star snub

Anthony Rendon appears to finally be catching some national attention despite the fact that he didn’t make the All-Star team, but he isn’t the only National who deserved a trip to Miami.

Look no further than Gio Gonzalez, whose 2.66 ERA trails only Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale for the lowest in all of baseball.

His 4.3 bWAR is tied with Sale for the second highest in the majors (behind Max) and he sports a H/9 below 7.0.

There may not be a pitcher in all of baseball flying more under the radar than Gonzalez.

Angels designated Danny Espinosa for assignment

We were so close!

Danny Espinosa has been absolutely dreadful this year, hitting .162 with just six home runs in 77 games.

This would’ve been the first time Washington’s former disgruntled infielder had the chance to face the team that drafted and developed him, but he was designated for assignment on Sunday.

Alas, perhaps the Nats will see him further down the road. I mean, who could’ve predicted we’d have Edwin Jackson starting a game in a Nats uniform this year?

Who to watch out for: Andrelton Simmons

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Los Angeles Angels Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Thought we got rid of this guy? For the most part, yes. But the Nats are going to have to deal with two games of former Atlanta Brave Andrelton Simmons, who’s on pace for his best offensive season to date.

Simmons has never finished a full season with Atlanta with an OPS+ above 100, but it typically didn’t matter thanks to his Gold Glove defense at shortstop.

This year, however, Simmons owns a .291/.341/.440 slash line with an OPS+ of 111, putting him on pace to crush his career highs in nearly ever offensive category.