VIEWER’S GUIDE TO THE WEEKEND

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The Nationals are off, but the Orioles open their 2011 season against the defending AL East champion Rays at 7 p.m. on MASN. The Jeremy Guthrie vs. David Price pitching matchup wouldn’t seem to bode well for the O’s as they begin their quest to snap a string of three consecutive last-place finishes, but you’ve got to start somewhere. Closer to home, the Wizards host the Cavs - who will no doubt be riding high after beating the Heat (CSN, 7 p.m.).

1st:SATURDAY

The Final Four festivities finally begin in Houston. Will VCU’s magical run continue to the championship game? Find out as the Rams take on last year’s finalist, Butler, in the first game on CBS. They’ll be followed by the more high-profile semi between Kentucky and UConn. Considering the way the tournament has unfolded so far, there’s little reason to expect anything less than two more fantastic games as the Madness winds its way to the finish.

1st:SUNDAY

It’s the third game of the season-opening series, but Jordan Zimmermann vs. Tim Hudson is a tantalizing pitching matchup as the Nats and Braves wrap up the weekend (MASN/DC-50, 1:30 p.m.). Zimmermann returned from Tommy John surgery last season, but pitchers typically make a big jump in their second season after the procedure. He’ll face the battle-tested Hudson, who finished fourth in NL Cy Young voting last year.

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