Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nationals vs. Braves (5/8-5/10)

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May 6, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) watches his third home run of the day leave the park against the Miami Marlins during the fifth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals continue their six-game home stand with a three-game set this weekend against the Atlanta Braves. The Nats just finished a three game series against the Braves last week, where they took two out of three at Atlanta.  More importantly for the Nationals, that series marked the Nats turn around after an abysmal start and a six-game losing streak. The wild, instant classic game two of the series where the Nats came from eight runs down sparked a revival in Nationals baseball. Since that game, Washington has won seven of their last nine games and scored 55 runs to their opponents’ 28 runs. The Nats look to continue their recent success and pull closer to the NY Mets in the NL East standings.

The Atlanta Braves currently sit in second in the NL East, a half game in front of the Nats and four back of the Mets for the division lead. After getting off to a hot start and winning their first five games, the Braves have come back to earth and have performed in line with their early season projections, going 9-14. The Braves are coming off a winning series against the Philadelphia Phillies and splitting a four-game set against the Cincinnati Reds.

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With this rivalry, the records go out the window and after a nasty slide by Andrelton Simmons into Yunel Escobar and an exchange of bean balls, tensions are high, as they always are, heading into this series.

The Braves will look to counter with the hot hitting of Freddie Freeman. Freeman is having a great season so far with a .318/.561/.937 slash and going a ridiculous 8-for-13 against the Nats last series. He always seems to come through for the Braves against the Nats and keeping him in check will be a huge key to a series win for Washington.

The Nats bats are hot coming into this weekend’s set and none more so than Bryce Harper‘s. If you didn’t hear about his three home run game on Wednesday, you may be living under a rock. Bryce is having a great year so far and him getting on base and hitting the ball a very long way is the cog in the wheel that keeps the Nats offense moving.

Let’s start our series preview and compare match ups to see who has the edge this weekend: 

Next: Next: Friday's Matchup