Trout, Harper headline meeting between Nationals, Angels (Jul 18, 2017)

BY AP • July 18, 2017

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Between the two of them, they have 11 All-Star Game selections, three MVPs and two Rookie of the Year awards.

And neither one of them is older than 25.

Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout, 25, and Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper, 24, have been the two best players in the majors the past few years, but they essentially could only admire one another from afar.

Even though Trout first broke into the big leagues in 2011 and Harper in 2012, the two have matched up head to head only for a three-game series at Washington in April 2014.

The Angels won two of three, and individually, Trout had a better series, going 5-for-14 with a double and a walk while Harper was 1-for-11 with a walk.

They will get together again for a brief two-game series starting Tuesday night in Anaheim, but this time around, Harper's club is in a much better position in the standings. The Nationals (56-36) have a 10 1/2-game lead in the National League East, while the Angels (46-49) are struggling to stay in the American League wild-card race.

The Angels will also get to see the new-and-improved Washington bullpen. Through the weekend, the Nationals had the highest bullpen ERA in the majors, but they acquired relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson on Sunday in a trade with the Oakland A's.

Both have experience as closers.

"I talked to (Oakland manager) Bob Melvin, and he told me we're getting two of the best guys -- on and off the field," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "This is the second time I've had Madson. The last time, he didn't throw a pitch (because he was injured). They're both coming with a good reputation."

Edwin Jackson will start Tuesday for Washington, making his debut with the club after starting the season with Baltimore. It is Jackson's second time around with the Nationals, having made 31 starts for them in 2012.

He pitched out of the bullpen for the Orioles this season, producing a 3.00 ERA in three outings, but he was 5-6 with a 5.89 ERA in 13 starts for San Diego last season. The 33-year-old veteran is 3-4 with a 4.01 ERA in 11 career games (eight starts) against the Angels.

Jackson is taking the rotation spot of Joe Ross, who will have season-ending Tommy John surgery on Wednesday. After signing a minor league deal with Washington in mid-June, Jackson went 2-0 with a 0.44 ERA in five games (four starts) for Triple-A Syracuse.

Jesse Chavez will start for the Angels, his first career start vs. Washington. He has pitched against Washington out of the bullpen, going 0-0 with a 3.52 ERA in seven appearances.

Chavez hasn't won a decision since June 6, going 0-4 with two no-decisions since. He hopes the latest stretch of struggles is temporary.

"It's just something that's going to happen throughout a season," Chavez told "Through 162 (games), you're going to have good weeks and bad weeks."

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