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Nationals open at home facing NL East rival Braves

Bryce Harper's Washington Nationals and Jason Heyward's Atlanta Braves won the past two NL East titles, and they'll get the division race started early this season.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Bryce Harper's Washington Nationals and Jason Heyward's Atlanta Braves won the past two NL East titles, and they'll get the division race started early this season.
   
Half of each team's first 12 games come against the other, beginning Friday with Washington's home opener.
   
The Nationals led the majors with 98 wins in 2012, but they finished 10 games behind the Braves in the division in 2013.
   
Two major problems for the Nationals a year ago were a poor start and an inability to beat the Braves, who won the clubs' season series 13-6. After their three-game series this weekend, the teams play three more at Atlanta a week later. But then they won't face off again until June.


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