Washington Nationals: What to watch as they visit Freddie Freeman and the Braves

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 30: Freddie Freeman
ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 30: Freddie Freeman /
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Pitching matchups

Now that the first series are in the books, each team is into the back-end of their rotation. In the first game of the series, Tanner Roark will be opposed by lefty Sean Newcomb.

You cannot read too much into one game, but it will be interesting to see how Roark performs in his first start of the year. After being one of the most reliable pitchers in the league for a few years, he had a down year last year and got roughed up a bit this spring.

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SunTrust Park is a tough place to pitch, but fans will be quick to get on Roark if he struggles.

A.J. Cole will get the nod for the Nats in game two. This will be his first start as a permanent member of the rotation, but a poor outing could be the beginning of the end for his time as a starter.

Jeremy Hellickson has impressed this spring and could take Cole’s spot in the rotation if he struggles.

As of Sunday night, the Braves have not yet announced starters for games two and three. They only have four starting pitchers on the active roster, but do not need a fifth starter until April 10 because of their scattered off-days.

There is a report that Anibal Sanchez will be called up before Monday’s game, but he will likely join the bullpen until a fifth starter is needed. If this is the case, Julio Teheran will oppose Cole.

In game three, the Nats will send Max Scherzer to the mound for his second start of the young season. He was brilliant on Opening Day, striking out 10 Reds in six shutout innings. Look for him to pick up right where he left off.

You can expect a few homers on Wednesday, since the first pitch is scheduled for 12:10. The ball always carries well at SunTrust Park, but especially during the day.

Next: The year of Adam Eaton

Both the Nats and the Braves are entering this series with winning records, which should make for an exciting divisional matchup. If the Nats are able to keep Freddie Freeman in check, they should be in good shape.