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Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies Series Preview: All eyes on Bryce Harper

The Washington Nationals’ right fielder may sign with one of the two teams playing in this week’s series. Here’s his chance to show both clubs what he’s worth.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals (65-66) vs. Phillies (70-60) series info:

Game 1: Monday, Aug. 27 at 7:05 p.m. ET (MASN2/106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Tuesday, Aug. 28 at 7:05 p.m. ET (MASN2/106.7)

Game 3: Wednesday, Aug. 29 at 7:05 p.m. ET (MASN2/106.7)

Pitching matchups:

Monday: Stephen Strasburg (6-7, 4.23 ERA) vs. Zach Eflin (9-4, 3.93)

Tuesday: Max Scherzer (16-6, 2.13) vs. Aaron Nola (15-3, 2.13)

Wednesday: Gio Gonzalez (7-11, 4.35) vs. Jake Arrieta (9-9, 3.37)

What to watch for:

Harper’s quest for a strong finish

It’s been a disappointing season for Bryce Harper, but he may be able to salvage it yet. His 1.028 second-half OPS is fifth among NL players with at least 140 plate appearances since the All-Star Break and he’s already reached 30 home runs on the season.

With his batting average now sitting at .249 and his RBI total at 84, Harper has the chance to finish the year hitting .260 with over 30 homers and 100 RBIs. When it’s all said and done, that’s a pretty respectable season.

The closer carousel

With Kelvin Herrera exiting yesterday’s game with an apparent foot injury that landed him back on the disabled list, the Nationals are once again handing ninth-inning reins to a new reliever. Ryan Madson is the obvious candidate to take the role based on his experience once he returns from the DL himself, but has a 6.88 ERA in save situations this year.

Sean Doolittle will be out at least another week, leaving Koda Glover and Greg Holland as the only other viable candidates. Holland is the most intriguing option, as he’s allowed just one run in 11 appearances as a National, while Glover has been thrown into save situations this year with mixed success.

The Buffalo roams wild in Philly

Wilson Ramos, who was rumored to be a Nats trade target before Washington decided to hold at the deadline, is a Phillie and already impressing in his new uniform. In six games with the Phillies, Ramos has 12 hits — including five doubles, a triple and a home run.

Matt Wieters is a free agent after this season and the Nationals don’t have any catchers in-house to replace him. The Buffalo will also be roaming the market this winter. Could the Nationals be looking at a possible reunion with their former backstop this winter?

Series history:

The Phillies lead the all-time series (2005-present) by a margin of 133-121, including seven wins in 13 games played between the two clubs this season. Washington took two of three from Philadelphia in their series last week.