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Nats recognize importance of series vs. Braves

NEW YORK -- The Nationals are back in Washington on Friday afternoon to face the Braves, last year's National League East champions. Atlanta won 13 out of 19 games against Washington last year.

While it's early April, the Nationals know they need to get as many wins as they can against their division rival. In fact, they play Atlanta six times within the next 10 days.

"They are really a good team, so we have to play well if we are going to beat them," manager Matt Williams said. "We want to continue the way we are playing, continue to do things right. If we can do that, then we have a chance."

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said the goal is to win every series, no matter who they play.

"Whether we are playing the Mets, the Braves, Cubs or the Padres, we try to win every series," Zimmerman said. "We'll go home. That will be the goal for this weekend -- win series. Hopefully, we can do that."

Infielder Kevin Frandsen is hungry to go to the postseason. He has never played in October and he said in order to be the best in baseball, the Nationals have to beat the best, which is the Braves.

"I'm excited [to play this series]," Frandsen said. "Here, the guys [on the Nationals] are hungry. There is such great vibe around here. I love it, so far, knowing that this series could set a true tone for the entire year. You get hot the first week or two, it sets a good tone for the season."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats.
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