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Braves vs. Nationals Series Preview: Nats look to snap five-game losing streak

It hasn’t been a pretty turn of the rotation for the Washington Nationals, who’ve allowed 37 runs while scoring just 16 over their last five contests.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Braves (6-3) vs. Nationals (4-5) series info:

Game 1: Monday, April 9 at 7:05 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Tuesday, April 10 at 7:05 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7)

Game 3: Wednesday, April 11 at 1:05 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7)

Pitching matchups:

Monday: Julio Teheran (0-0, 10.13 ERA) vs. Max Scherzer (1-1, 1.64)

Tuesday: Mike Foltynewicz (1-0, 2.61) vs. Stephen Strasburg (1-1, 3.65)

Wednesday: Brandon McCarthy (2-0, 3.97) vs. A.J. Cole (0-1, 24.55)

What to watch for:

Nationals aim to end losing streak

The Nats never lost five straight games during Dusty Baker’s tenure as manager, but they’ve already done so nine games into the Dave Martinez era. Washington hasn’t looked quite right since A.J. Cole first took the mound in Atlanta last Tuesday but will have the chance to turn things around with its ace toeing the rubber to get this midweek series started.

What’s going on with Brandon Kintzler?

Kintzler was as reliable as they come over the second half of last season, locking down the seventh inning and helping bridge the gap from starters’ early exits to the late-inning relievers. Over the weekend, however, the Mets had his number. They tattooed him for seven earned runs in three appearances, including a grand slam on Thursday. He’ll almost certainly get the day off in the series opener but he’ll look to prove he’s still that reliable seventh-inning man.

Enjoy an Acuna-less Braves offense while it lasts

No. 1 overall prospect Ronald Acuna won’t be playing in this series, but it’ll be the last time the Nats see Atlanta without its prized farmhand in the lineup. Acuna is set to join the team on Saturday and could start seeing regular playing time as soon as this weekend. Former No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson has failed to live up to the hype thus far, but Acuna looks like a much more finished product.

Series history:

The Nationals will look to enact revenge on their divisional rivals after the Braves took two of three in the two teams’ first series of the season. Washington leads the all-time series 127-116, including a 48-31 record since 2014.

In their words…

Kris Willis, Talking Chop

Things are looking up in Atlanta as the Braves have gotten off to a 6-3 start and are looking to be one of the surprise teams in the National League in 2018. While the Braves aren’t likely to be true contenders until next season, they have enjoyed some recent success against the Nationals. Facing Scherzer and Strasburg on back-to-back days won’t be easy but this is a confident team at the moment that is playing good baseball.