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Rockies vs. Nationals Series Preview: Nats’ bats could use a boost

The Washington Nationals have plenty of big bats up and down their lineup, but a few have gotten off to a bit of a slow start.

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Rockies (6-7) vs. Nationals (6-6) series info:

Game 1: Thursday, April 12 at 7:05 p.m. ET (MASN/106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Friday, April 13 at 7:05 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7)

Game 3: Saturday, April 14 at 1:05 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7)

Game 4: Sunday, April 15 at 1:35 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7)

Pitching matchups:

Thursday: Chad Bettis (1-0, 2.53 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (1-0, 1.59)

Friday: Kyle Freeland (0-2, 5.56) vs. Tanner Roark (1-0, 4.50)

Saturday: Jon Gray (1-2, 5.63) vs. Max Scherzer (2-1, 0.90)

Sunday: Tyler Anderson (0-0, 5.65) vs. Stephen Strasburg (2-1, 2.21)

What to watch for:

The starting catcher job is officially up for grabs

Matt Wieters is back on the active roster after a brief DL stint, but he’s far from guaranteed the bulk of the playing time behind the plate. 24-year-old Pedro Severino’s impressive play early on this season forced the Nats to designate fellow catcher Miguel Montero for assignment, opening up the door for Severino to cut into Wieters’ playing time. If Severino can continue to take steps forward in the batter’s box (.348 average with two doubles and five walks thus far), he could very well take over as the team’s primary catcher.

Too bad this series isn’t in Coors Field

Entering the season projected to be one of the top offensive teams in baseball, the Nationals’ lineup hasn’t lived up to the hype through the team’s first 12 games. Both Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Taylor sport batting averages below .170 and Trea Turner has just one extra-base hit. While Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon are certainly capable of carrying a lineup, they’re going to need some help while Daniel Murphy continues to work his way back from knee surgery.

Don’t throw at Arenado

Nolan Arenado already gets a lot of attention for being one of the best third basemen in all of baseball, but he made headlines Wednesday for charging the mound after Padres starter Luis Perdomo threw a pitch behind Arenado’s back. Of course, Washington and Colorado don’t have any bad blood by any means. But the team already has its juices flowing after the brawl with San Diego and won’t roll over if the Nats aggravate them in any way.

Series history:

The Rockies own a 51-37 record against the Nats for the all-time series (2005-present), including a 24-21 advantage at Coors Field. Washington took four of seven from the Rockies last season but just one of three at Nationals Park.