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Atlanta Braves vs Washington Nationals Series Preview: Freddie Freeman returns to D.C.

The Washington Nationals play host to the Atlanta Braves in their final series before the All-Star Break.

MLB: Houston Astros at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Braves (40-44) vs. Nationals (50-34) Series Info:

Game 1: Thursday, July 6 at 7:05 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Friday, July 7 at 7:05 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7 The Fan)

Game 3: Saturday, July 8 at 4:05 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7)

Game 4: Sunday, July 9 at 1:35 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7)

Pitching Matchups:

Thursday: Mike Foltynewicz (6-5, 3.83 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (7-3, 2.77)

Friday: R.A. Dickey (6-5, 4.44) vs. Max Scherzer (10-5, 1.94)

Saturday: Julio Teheran (6-6, 5.14) vs. Stephen Strasburg (9-2, 3.28)

Sunday: Sean Newcomb (1-3, 3.58) vs. TBA (Joe Ross?)

What to watch for:

Gio Gonzalez, snubbed even from the All-Star snub lists

While the Nationals will in no way lack representatives at next week’s All-Star Game — the team has a league-high five players heading to Miami — one starting pitcher putting together a strong season has been left on the outside looking in.

Gio Gonzalez has a lower ERA than Stephen Strasburg and the third highest bWAR among NL arms, but was nowhere to be found when the Commissioner’s Office released the All-Star rosters on Monday.

With Clayton Kershaw starting Sunday and therefore making himself ineligible to pitch in the game, Gonzalez has a shot at earning his spot on the roster.

However, if the All-Star snub lists are any indication, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Players and coaches looking for more fan support

Although attendance numbers have been a tick above league average, Dusty Baker recently made some comments about the energy of the home crowd in D.C.

Baker made the very valid claim that fans aren’t as loud or boisterous as other cities’ — and a sizable portion of the crowd tends to cheer for the opposing team.

It’s understandable for Nats fans to be like this, there hasn’t been a whole lot of D.C. fans to cheer for over the past few decades.

Still, get on your feet a little bit. This team could be the one to finally end the drought.

Yes, that’s Freddie Freeman over at third base

The Nat Killer of all Nat Killers is back, as Freddie Freeman was activated off the disabled list this week after missing seven weeks with a fractured wrist.

He won’t be in his usual position at first, however, as the emergence of Matt Adams has pushed the two-time All-Star over to the hot corner.

Freeman isn’t a great defender, so it will be worth paying attention to how he handles the transition to third base.

Who to watch out for: Matt Adams

MLB: Atlanta Braves at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of Matt Adams, he’s been unstoppable at the plate since being traded by the Cardinals in late May.

With a .908 OPS and 12 home runs in 159 at-bats in a Braves uniform so far this season, he’s made the middle of the Atlanta batting order much more formidable.

Dansby Swanson has slowly come around after his slow start and Matt Kemp has been pretty underrated this year, giving the Braves’ a glimpse of their possible bright future.