Jun 21, 2010, 2:05 PM EDT
Remember way back to the beginning of this month, when Stephen Strasburg was still in Syracuse, when the Nationals were still a .500 team and when the scheduling gods seemed to be smiling down upon this club?
Back then, the thinking was that the Nats had done a fantastic job surviving what would be the toughest portion of the season and now could really make a move during a prolonged stretch of games against lesser competition.
How has that worked out for them? Not so well. A club that sat at 25-26 when it arrived in Houston on Memorial Day has since gone 6-13. Worse the Nats have posted that .316 winning percentage against the Astros, Reds, Pirates, Indians, Tigers and White Sox. Combined record of those six teams: 186-227.
Point is, there's no such thing as an easy schedule in baseball. And you certainly can't assume one team is going to enjoy a upswing just because it's playing a bunch of games against sub-.500 opposition. Anyone can win on any given day in this sport. All it takes is a good pitching performance, a couple of clutch hits, some nice plays in the field.
The Nationals have learned this the hard way. Inside the clubhouse throughout April and May, guys kept saying: "If we can only hang around .500 through this first stretch of the season, the schedule gets a lot easier and then we can take off." On paper, that may have sounded like a reasonable approach. In reality, it's never as easy as it sounds.
The Nats have fallen to a season-worst eight games under .500 because they haven't gotten enough quality pitching, because they haven't gotten enough hits at the right times, because they haven'tRead more »
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- Rizzo not looking for outside help despite injuries
- Reliever Janssen needs MRI on shoulder
- Miami Marlins name Opening Day starter
- Nats and Marlins starters meet in tune-up
- Uggla hoping for starting job, not bench role with Nats
- AL East team scouting Phillies' Jonathan Papelbon
- Report: Nats making lefty relievers available for trade
- Strasburg labors in return from ankle sprain
- Former Nats OF released by Texas Rangers; Ohlendorf to Triple-A
- Nats announce season-opening rotation order