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

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Davey Martinez’s club tries to make it five in a row in the first of three with the Braves in D.C.

St Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Going into Sunday’s series finale with the Miami Marlins, Washington Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez talked about where things stood with the club. Martinez talked all winter about the need to get off to a good start, and a 10-12 month of April wasn’t what anyone had in mind.

They were 6-4 over their previous ten, however, and they had won three straight before their final matchup with the Marlins.

“I think we’re getting there,” Martinez said. “I mean, I like what I’m seeing, but we’re getting there. There is still work to be done. I don’t want to nitpick on things like that, but we talk about our defense is playing a lot better. Our baserunning has got to be a lot better. But we’re getting there. The biggest thing is— what I like — yesterday we had some clutch hitting. Josh Bell had a big hit for us with the bases loaded, so driving in those runs, those free RBIs as we call them, from third base with less than two outs, we’ve got to get better at that as well. If we’re going to compete in this league, we got to do all the little things right.”

The win in the finale with the Fish was the Nationals’ fourth straight, and it got them back up to .500 for the first time since they were 1-1 on April 7th.

“We’re going to sit back and enjoy this one,” the manager said in his post game Zoom call.

“Got a day off tomorrow, again, and then we’re going to come back and we got the Braves coming to town, so we got to come back and get ready.

“Like I said, there’s no easy task here, we’ve just got to continue to play good baseball.”

Atlanta arrives in D.C. with a 12-16 record on the season, having lost six of their least ten and four straight overall.

Getting back to .500 before the series with the Braves, Martinez acknowledged, did mean a lot to the team.

“Of course it does,” he said. “You always want to be above .500, a lot above .500.”

“The one good thing, and I say this all the time, is the way these guys are playing,” he added.

“They’re playing hard every day, and it’s fun to watch. They’re leaving it all out on the field, regardless if we’re winning or losing these guys are playing hard, so it’s been fun so far, it’s been fun watching these last few days, and getting back to where we know we can be and continue to win games consistently.”

Will they make it five in a row tonight?

HERE’S THE NATIONALS’ LINEUP FOR THE 1ST OF 3 WITH THE BRAVES:

NOTES: Juan Soto is back. So is Will Harris. The Nationals announced the following roster moves before today’s game:

“Reinstated right-handed pitcher Will Harris and outfielder Juan Soto from the 10-day Injured List on Tuesday. Additionally, Washington optioned right-handed pitcher Kyle McGowin to Triple-A Rochester and designated Hernán Pérez for assignment on Tuesday.”

Soto is going to come off the bench for now according to manager Davey Martinez (before you ask why he’s not in the lineup), and Harris is good to go.