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Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves Series Preview: Let NL East play begin

The Washington Nationals’ quest to finish the season 162-0 is well underway.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals (3-0) vs. Braves (2-1) series info:

Game 1: Monday, April 2 at 7:35 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Tuesday, April 3 at 7:35 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7)

Game 3: Wednesday, April 4 at 12:10 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7)

Pitching matchups:

Monday: Tanner Roark (13-11, 4.67 ERA in 2017) vs. Sean Newcomb (4-9, 4.32)

Tuesday: A.J. Cole (3-5, 3.81) vs. Julio Teheran (5.2 IP, 4 ER in 2018 debut)

Wednesday: Max Scherzer (6.0 IP, 0 ER) vs. Mike Foltynewicz (5.0 IP, 2 ER)

What to watch for:

Miguel Montero hits center stage

In wake of Matt Wieters’ reported injury issues, Montero will be seeing more time behind the plate while the former Oriole rides the pine. Montero is a two-time All-Star but has well-documented issues with controlling the run game and has posted an OPS+ over 100 just once since 2012. The Nats are hoping for a bounce-back year from him — and they’ll have little choice but to give him every opportunity to succeed with Wieters shelved for the time being.

Bryce Harper vs. Julio Teheran is a matchup you don’t want to miss

Harper probably gives many pitchers nightmares on the eve of their starts against the Nats, but none have more of an excuse to toss and turn all night than Teheran. Harper has a staggering 1.664 OPS in 45 plate appearances against the Braves starter, hitting seven homers and driving in 17 RBIs.

Freddie Freeman has a bit of a history with the Nats

In his career, Freeman has played 115 games against Washington, consistently making himself the biggest headache the team’s staff must deal with every year. He’s the owner of a .326/.394/.536 slash line in contests against the Nats and has hit more homers off Washington pitchers (17) than anyone in the majors since he entered the league in 2010.

Series history:

The Nationals are 126-114 against the Braves in the division rivals’ all-time series (2005-present) and have taken full advantage of Atlanta’s rebuild. Since 2014, Washington is 47-29 and has scored 4.8 runs per game in contests with the Braves.