Washington Nationals: 3 to watch as Nats head West

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 21: Bryce Harper
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 21: Bryce Harper /
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The Washington Nationals begin a two-game series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim tonight; here are three players to keep an eye on.

The Washington Nationals are coming off of a series sweep against the Cincinnati Reds. The Nats were dominant throughout the entire series, but the starting rotation especially impressed. Gio Gonzalez, Max Scherzer, Tanner Roark, and Stephen Strasburg combined to throw 27.1 innings and only allowed one earned run.

The potent offense also looked to be at their best throughout the series, scoring 29 runs in four games. In addition to excellent team success, there were also some outstanding individual performances. The Nats had someone homer twice in each of the first three games of the series. Bryce Harper homered twice on Friday, Anthony Rendon homered twice on Saturday, and Daniel Murphy homered twice on Sunday.

Ryan Zimmerman also hit a monumental homer during the series finale on Sunday. His first-inning home run was the 235th homer of his career, which put him ahead of Vladimir Guerrero for the franchise record.

The Los Angeles Angels, on the other hand, have struggled lately. They haven’t won a series since June 23-25 against the Boston Red Sox. However, the may improve soon. Mike Trout tore a ligament in his thumb on May 29 and just returned last Friday, so the Angels were without their superstar for a significant period of time.

Luckily for the Angels and the media, Trout is back just in time for the series against the Nats. Although the series is the Nationals vs. the Angels, most people view it as Harper vs. Trout. Wednesday night’s game will be on ESPN and lots of people will watch just to see two of baseball’s youngest and brightest stars face off.

The Angels also feature lots of former Nationals. Yunel Escobar, Ben Revere, and Yusmeiro Petit are all on their active roster and they just designated Danny Espinosa for assignment. Escobar played well with the Nats, but Revere and Petit struggled so it will be interesting to see how they’re doing now.

With all that in mind, let’s take a look at three key players for what should be an entertaining mid-week series.