July 9, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; American League outfielder Mike Trout (left) of the Los Angeles Angels talks with National League outfielder Bryce Harper (right) of the Washington Nationals during practice for the 2012 All Star Game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports via USA TODAY Sports

Bryce Harper and the Nationals Welcome Mike Trout and the Angels at Nationals Park

After securing a four game split against the St. Louis Cardinals over the weekend, the Washington Nationals are set to take on yet another difficult foe in the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels have drastically under performed the last couple of seasons but they still boast a star-studded lineup. But as dangerous as Albert Pujols and other All-Star caliber players on the Angels are, it’s pretty clear that the big story line this week will involve just too players: Bryce Harper and Mike Trout.

Harper and Trout, two of the most talented young players in the game and former Arizona Fall League teammates, will play on the same field for the first time in the regular season. Although both players play in different leagues and opposite coasts, fans and analysts alike have been drawing comparisons between the young players that have been declared “the future of baseball” ever since they broke into the game at the big league level in 2012.

Two years later, Trout clearly has the upper hand in the hypothetical competition between he and Harper. But Harper is also one of the most talented players in the game and although both players are at different stages of development, it’s safe to say that Bryce Harper and Mike Trout are two names we’ll be hearing a lot of over the next several years.

While it’s far too early to predict who will have the better career, both Harper and Trout will finally face each other as they try to help their respective teams win some ballgames at Nationals Park. It won’t be easy for either team as both the Nationals and the Angels send strong starting pitchers to the mound for the series opener on Monday Night.

Tanner Roark gets the ball for the Nationals as he tries to continue his recent string of success and further secure his spot as the Nationals number five starter, with Doug Fister‘s return looming in the coming weeks. Roark will try to build off of a strong performance against the Marlins last week in which, despite giving up a three-run home run, he dominated Miami’s lineup for 6 1/3 innings, striking out five hitters.

The Angels will counter with right-hander Garrett Richards, who boasts a 2.84 ERA over 19 innings this season.

Here are the lineups for today’s game:

Nationals:

Span CF

Harper LF

Werth RF

LaRoche 1B

Rendon 3B

Desmond SS

Espinosa 2B

Lobaton C

Roark P

 

Angels:

Shuck LF

Trout CF

Pujols 1B

Stewart 3B

Kendrick 2B

Boesch RF

Aybar SS

Iannetta C

Richards RHP

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