You can never make too much of an early April series between any two teams, but for the first matchup of the year between the Nationals and Braves, baseball fans sure are excited. Both teams made the playoffs with 90+ wins last season and both look improved on paper after changes to their roster. They also happen to hold the two best records in the National League entering tonight.
The players have to act like it doesn't mean much at all, just take this quote from Ryan Zimmerman:
"We get excited for every series. I think we have to play the same way as we do against the Marlins, as we do against the Phillies, as we do against the Mets. As soon as you take other teams for granted or only get up when you play the Braves, or the Dodgers or teams like that, that's when you get in trouble. This team does such a good job of treating every team the same."
Zimmerman is getting his first look at the new Atlanta Braves who feature two familiar faces in Justin and B.J. Upton. Zimmerman grew up playing against the Braves' outfielders in the Tidewater region of Virginia.
"It's fun for all of us. I played against David in the division quite a bit. Now to have Justin and BJ, I think it makes it fun. In pro sports you want to play against quality teams and the Braves are one of those teams. They're going to be a good team all year long and I think them, the Phillies, the Mets, all those teams are going to be good. It's a tough division but it'll be fun. It's not very often you get to play against guys that you competed against in high school, middle school and have known for that long."
Ross Detwiler will pitch for Washington with Julio Teheran taking the ball for Atlanta. Check out Mark's preview of the series from The Baseball Show above. He, Rob Carlin, and Jim Duquette discuss how much importance can be placed on such an early matchup.
[UPDATE: This originally said Nats and Braves had two best records in MLB, but Oakland is a half-game ahead of Washington]