Braves-Nationals Preview

After opening the season with a pair of wins in Atlanta, it shouldn't come as a surprise the Washington Nationals again beat the Braves when the series shifted to the nation's capital.

Seeking their best start in 15 years, the Nationals on Tuesday night look to win their 12th straight home game over winless Atlanta, which is off to its worst start in nearly three decades.

Cleanup hitter Ryan Zimmerman and No. 5 hitter Daniel Murphy have been a catalyst to Washington's strong start, with Zimmerman 6 for 15 with six runs and Murphy 8 for 17 with seven RBIs. Murphy homered in his first at-bat with the Nationals (4-1) and hit home run No. 2 in Monday's 6-4 victory over the Braves.

More from FoxSports

''Good at-bats up and down the lineup,'' Murphy said. ''As an offense, I feel like we're able to put pressure on the pitcher continually.''

Washington is 17-4 in the last 21 against Atlanta and has won all 11 meetings at Nationals Park since the start of last season. The Nationals are averaging 6.9 runs and batting .333 during their home win streak in the series - the franchise's longest home win streak over a single opponent since Montreal won 14 in a row over San Diego between 1993-95.

The Braves haven't lost 12 consecutive road games to a single opponent since a 13-game skid at the Dodgers from 1951-52.

The Nationals haven't won five of their first six since the Expos opened 6-1 in 2001.

Things are not going as smoothly for the Braves (0-6), who are off to their worst start since opening 0-10 in 1988.

The problems are widespread, as they have one of baseball's worst slugging percentages at .299 to go with the majors' second-worst ERA at 6.67.

Freddie Freeman, Atlanta's leader in homers and RBIs a year ago, is 2 for 18 while new shortstop Erick Aybar is 5 for 25.

''I told the guys: Keep your heads up. ... Don't get down," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We're playing good. If you have this in July - you lose five in a row or six in a row in July - nobody worries. It's the beginning of the season. And I am worried, but I know that we're playing good baseball. We're close to playing good baseball.''

Nick Markakis is swinging a hot bat, compiling five doubles in the last two games. However, he is 2 for 12 since 2013 against starter Gio Gonzalez, who is making his season debut as Washington's No. 5 starter.

Gonzalez, who was the team's No. 2 starter from 2012-14, went 11-8 with a 3.79 ERA in 31 starts last season.

The left-hander struggled early in spring training, walking 12 over 13 innings in his first four starts before throwing six innings without issuing a base on balls in his final one March 27.

Gonzalez posted a 1.38 ERA while striking out 18 over 13 innings to win two 2015 starts against the Braves - both at home. He had a 5.32 ERA in going 0-7 in his previous eight in the series.

Atlanta turns to Jhoulys Chacin, who will make his first start of 2016. Slowed by shoulder issues the past two seasons, Chacin went 1-1 with a 3.04 ERA in four starts last season for Arizona.

The right-hander had a 3.00 ERA over six spring training appearance but was regularly working with men on base, yielding 28 hits and eight walks over 21 innings. He was sharp, however, in a start for Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday, walking two in 7 2-3 scoreless innings.

He has a 2.65 ERA in winning his last three starts against the Nationals, last facing them in 2013.