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Interleague Preview from The Sports Network

Monday, April 21st (All times eastern)

LA Angels of Anaheim (8-10) at Washington Nationals (11-8), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: LA Angels - Garrett Richards (2-0, 2.84) Washington - Tanner Roark (1-0, 5.29)

( - Two of baseball's top young stars square off for the first time during their respective big league careers Monday in the nation's capital, as the Washington Nationals host the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the opener of a three-game set at Nationals Park.

The game pits Washington's Bryce Harper against the Angels' Mike Trout in a bout between the 2012 Rookies of the Year.

Trout, the 25th pick in the 2009 draft, leads all of baseball in runs scored since 2012 and boasts a .979 OPS in that span. On the season, he is hitting .307 with a dozen extra-base hits.

"I think it's pretty cool, some young talents facing each other," Trout said of going up against Harper. "It's not going to be just about us, but it's going to be fun.

"We're both position players, so we're not really going to face each other. We're both going to try, obviously, to get on base, get some hits. But I think when you try to do too much, that's when you get in trouble."

Harper, the top pick in the 2010 draft, set franchise rookie records in 2012 with 22 homers, 98 runs and .477 slugging percentage. Like Trout, Harper has been an All-Star each of the last two years.

Of course, there is a lot more to this head-to-head matchup than just Trout versus Harper.

The Angels are playing their fourth leg of a nine-game road swing and badly need the offense to get going. They managed just four hits in a 5-2 loss at Detroit on Saturday, then followed that up with seven hits in Sunday's 2-1 setback.

Angels slugger Albert Pujols is two home runs shy of 500 in his career.

Washington salvaged a four-game split with St. Louis on Sunday thanks to Denard Span's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning. Harper went 1- for-4 in that game after being benched by Matt Williams during Saturday's 4-3 loss for not hustling down the first base line in the sixth inning. After hitting .483 during an eight-game hitting streak, Harper is 2-for-15 in four games since.

Tanner Roark takes the mound for the Nationals on Monday when they continue a season-long, 11-game homestand. The right-hander went 6 1/3 innings at Miami his last time out, as he struck out five but also gave up a three-run homer to Derek Dietrich to earn the no-decision.

Toeing the rubber for the Angels is Garrett Richards, who has gone 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA after three turns through the rotation. However, he was tagged for five runs on eight hits in seven innings of work against Oakland on Tuesday.

This marks the first meeting between these two teams since June 29, 2011, a week and a half before Trout made his big league debut.

04/21 10:36:25 ET

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