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Washington Nationals’ lineup for series opener with the Atlanta Braves...

Washington’s 5.5 games out in the NL East, behind Atlanta (0.5 out) and Philadelphia as the Nationals start a three-game set with the Braves in the nation’s capital.

MLB: San Diego Padres at Washington Nationals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Through ten games with their divisional rivals, the Washington Nationals are 4-6 heading into this weekend’s three-game set with the NL East’s second place Atlanta Braves. It’s as big a series as the Nats have played thus far.

Coming out of the All-Star Break, and Bryce Harper’s Home Run Derby win, GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies that he thought some of the energy he saw from Harper and the rest the other Nats got this week could carry over into the so-called second half of the season.

“I think that energy level and the exuberance that [Harper] showed in the Derby, then you couple that with two real days off for him and the rest of our All-Stars, I think guys will be reenergized and their batteries will be reenergized and I think it will have a positive impact for not only Harp but the whole team.”

Trea Turner told reporters after the finale with the New York Mets last weekend that he was looking forward to the series with Atlanta’s Braves, though after a .500 “first-half” each and every one of their games are important.

”They’re a team in front of us,” Turner said. “They’re a team on the other side of the field.

“We’ve gotta beat everybody to have a chance, and it’s going to be nice when we get a chance to play them, but I don’t think that matters until later on when you’re talking about being eliminated and stuff.”

Davey Martinez and the Nationals have an opportunity to prove something to themselves and the NL East’s second place team tonight.

Ryan Zimmerman’s back off the DL (as is tonight’s starter, Stephen Strasburg), but Zim is not in the lineup for the first of three with the Braves in D.C.