Washington Nationals: 5 To Watch For In Atlanta

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Apr 16, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) celebrates with Nationals manager Dusty Baker (12) after hitting a game-winning walk-off three run home run against the Philadelphia Phillies in the bottom of the ninth inning at Nationals Park. The Nationals won 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 16, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) celebrates with Nationals manager Dusty Baker (12) after hitting a game-winning walk-off three run home run against the Philadelphia Phillies in the bottom of the ninth inning at Nationals Park. The Nationals won 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /
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MATT WIETERS

Matt Wieters returns to the city where he played his college ball.

Drafted as a member of the Rambling Wreck of Georgia Tech, Wieters wants to erase a bad weekend from his memory. A wild pitch Sunday which he boxed helped the Phillies take the lead 3-1. Some bad swings and six wild pitches have fans increasingly irritated.

To Wieters credit, he finally threw out a runner trying to steal.

Three weeks into the season, Wieters bat has caught up from his late start this spring and is major-league ready. Despite drawing fans ire, he is hitting .314, drawn five walks and has a home run to his credit. From the bottom of the lineup, you can see him progress daily.

Remember, this is a contract year for him. Without question he will opt-out of his two-year deal. There is pressure on him to perform, not only from the Nats but from his agent Scott Boras.

The statistics do not paint the bleak picture painted in fans minds. He has done well replacing Wilson Ramos. But, it is clear he must win reluctant fans over.

Now on the third turn of the rotation, Wieters in-game calling of his pitchers has improved. He understands their strengths and the meetings to get on the same page during the game dwindle. Perhaps blocking a few more wild pitches would help everybody too.

Tuesday marks the fifth game Wieters has played in Atlanta since college. With a new team and park, his numbers with the Orioles against the Braves mean nothing.

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