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 »
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