Not to completely diminish the Nationals' 3-0 start to the season, but you do have to issue a small disclaimer: It came against a Marlins club that looks like its in for an incredibly long year, with no real offensive threat outside of Giancarlo Stanton and an injury-ravaged rotation.

Yes, the Nationals did what a good team should do against an inferior one. They beat them handily, never really offering any reason to believe they were going to lose any of those three games this week. But you have to be careful not to draw too many conclusions about Davey Johnson's club based solely on its performance against Miami.

That won't still be the case come Sunday night, after the Nats have had a chance to play a full weekend slate against perhaps the toughest opponent they'll face all season: the Reds.

Cincinnati perhaps doesn't get the credit and attention it deserves, but make no mistake, this is one of the very best teams in baseball entering the season. Dusty Baker's boys won 97 games last year, return just about everyone, added a high-OBP leadoff man in Shin-Soo Choo, have a perennial MVP candidate in Joey Votto, a deep and talented rotation and a devastating closer in Aroldis Chapman.

The Reds already have faced a tough challenge this season, opening up with an interleague series victory over the potent Angels. And they pose a particularly dangerous threat in their cozy ballpark along the shores of the Ohio River.

"They're a good team," third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. "They just came off a tough series with the Angels, and that's one of the other best teams in the National League. It's early, but it's one of those series where you go in and it's going to be a tough series."