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Washington Nationals vs Milwaukee Brewers Series Preview: Nats nearing full strength as they head to Milwaukee

The Washington Nationals are slowly but surely getting their stars back on the field and the Milwaukee Brewers are their next challenger looking to slow their roll.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals (81-51) vs. Brewers (69-64) Series Info:

Game 1: Thursday, Aug. 31 at 8:10 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Friday, Sept. 1 at 8:10 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7 The Fan)

Game 3: Saturday, Sept. 2 at 7:10 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7)

Game 4: Sunday, Sept. 3 at 2:10 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7)

Pitching Matchups:

Thursday: Gio Gonzalez (13-5, 2.40 ERA) vs. Zach Davies (15-7, 3.91)

Friday: Tanner Roark (11-8, 4.63) vs. Jimmy Nelson (10-6, 3.75)

Saturday: TBA (Erick Fedde?) vs. Brandon Woodruff (1-1, 1.62)

Sunday: Max Scherzer (13-5 2.21) vs. Matt Garza (6-8, 4.77)

What to watch for:

Nats finally getting some of the cavalry back

The rotation is healthy, Trea Turner and Jayson Werth are back on the field and the Nationals are on fire.

Washington has won four straight and eight of its past 11, putting the Nationals 15 games up over Miami in the NL East.

With many of their stars back on the field and their playoff spot all but clinched, the only thing the Nats really have to worry about between now and the NLDS is staying healthy.

Sean Doolittle proving to be the difference maker in the ninth

Since being traded to the Nats in late July, Sean Doolittle has converted 13 consecutive saves and Washington has won every game he’s pitched in.

He’s been able to lead the late-inning trio along with Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler that has stabilized the team’s bullpen.

Tight leads appear much more safe once the eighth and ninth innings come around and Doolittle has been a big part of that.

Potential rookie showdown on Saturday

It hasn’t been announced whether Edwin Jackson or Erick Fedde will be starting Saturday, but if Fedde takes the mound he’ll be facing fellow rookie Brandon Woodruff.

Woodruff has impressed through the first three major league starts of his career, allowing just three runs in 16.2 innings.

Fedde, on the other hand, has shown flashes of potential but still owns a 9.39 ERA through his first three starts of his MLB career.

Who to watch out for: Travis Shaw

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

No, the best hitter on the Brewers isn’t Ryan Braun or Eric Thames, it’s Travis Shaw.

Shaw leads the team with a 4.0 bWAR on the season, hitting .282/.355/.538 with 27 home runs and 83 RBIs.

He went 4-8 with two home runs against the Nats in their first series against each other this season, putting the pressure on the Washington pitching staff to cool down his bat.