Series Preview: Braves vs. Nationals

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sport

The Braves host the first-place Nationals for a three-game weekend series.

The first home series of the year didn't go Atlanta's way, but now the Braves host the Nationals, who swept the Marlins and have the Braves to thank for not being undefeated. Atlanta is responsible for both of Washington's losses up in DC, while the series against Miami has seemed to rejuvenate Bryce Harper.

Harper had all types of problems to start the year, recording just three hits in his first 21 at-bats with 10 strikeouts. Against the Marlins, he was 4-11 with his first home run and RBIs of the season. The offense as a whole hit .290 in the series as opposed to just .187 against Atlanta's staff. The trio of Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche combined for 15 of the 29 hits in the Miami series. They've been the hottest hitters for Washington with Rendon leading the way at a .412 clip.

The Braves will their second look at Taylor Jordan, who made his season debut against the Braves in Washington, in the middle game of this three-game weekend series, but will be seeing Tanner Roark and Gio Gonzalez for the first time in 2014. Roark opened some eyes in his debut year, and was particularly stingy against Atlanta: 13 innings, 4 hits, 12 strikeouts, and exactly ZERO runs.

The same can't be said about Gio Gonzalez, who started five games against Atlanta in 2013 and the Nationals lost each one. His first two starts were rather ugly, resulting in an inflated 5.10 ERA, his highest mark against any NL team last year. This is nothing new, as the Braves typically give Gonzalez trouble: a 2-6 record in nine starts and 28 runs in 51.2 innings.

PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS

Friday, April 11, 7:35 p.m. ET

Julio Teheran (ATL)

2 starts, 1-1 W-L, 2.77 ERA, 5 BB, 8 K

Tanner Roark (WAS)

1 start, 1-0 W-L, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K

Saturday, April 12, 7:10 p.m. ET

Alex Wood (ATL)

2 starts, 1-1 W-L, 1.93 ERA, 3 BB, 9 K

Taylor Jordan (WAS)

1 start, 6.1 innings, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K

Sunday, April 13, 1:35 p.m. ET

Aaron Harang (ATL)

2 starts, 1-1 W-L, 0.71 ERA, 5 BB, 12 K

Gio Gonzalez (WAS)

2 starts, 2-0 W-L, 0.75 ERA, 3 BB, 11 K

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