May 10, 2010, 3:03 PM EDT
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Luis Atilano will look to get this road trip off to a good start.
NEW YORK — Good morning from the Big Apple, the City That Never Sleeps, the Town So Nice They Named it Twice. Or for our purposes, the site of the Nationals' three-game series against the Mets.
This probably didn't look like all that important of a series six weeks ago. In fact, when we were here just one month ago, the prospect of watching 18 games between the Nats and Mets seemed pretty daunting. These two teams didn't look so good coming out of the gates.
Well, much has changed since then. The Mets went on a tear, winning nine-of-10 at one point. The Nats, of course, have consistently played solid baseball since the season's second week. And now these two division rivals (who most figured would battle for last place in the NL East) square off tied for second place. Both clubs sit at 17-14, two games behind the Phillies.
This three-game set is merely the first leg of a tough road trip for the Nationals. After this, they move on to Denver for four games against the Rockies, with Ubaldo Jimenez slated to pitch Friday night. (Of course, the Nats have their own ace, Livan Hernandez, on track to start that game as well, the second time these two right-handers will face each other in a span of weeks.) From Colorado, the Nats head to St. Louis for an abbreviated, two-game series with a Cardinals squad that currently own the NL's best record at 20-12.
So this could be a pivotal stretch of games for the Nationals. Should they post a winning record on this trip, say 5-4, they'd be sitting pretty coming back home to face the Mets and Orioles. Should they falter a bit, going 3-6, they'd still come home with a .500 record. But should they fall flat on their faces and win two or fewer games,Read more »
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