Apr 13, 2013, 4:51 AM EDT
Craig Stammen trudges off the mound after giving up the game-winning homer.
If the first of at least 19 games between the Nationals and Braves this season was a sign of what’s to come, plan on bringing plenty of Maalox to the ballpark when these two NL East titans get together.
And don’t be surprised if you still have a queasy feeling in your stomach when you leave the park at least a few more times.
Evenly matched from top to bottom, the Nationals and Braves are likely to engage in more than their share of intense theater over the next 5 1/2 months. The Nats will win their share of those tense games, but they’re also going to come out on the wrong end from time to time, though they certainly hope none of the losses are as gut-wrenching as Friday’s 6-4, 10-inning affair was.
This one, in which the Nationals blew a late 4-0 lead behind a bullpen implosion, shaky defense and an offensive shutdown after an early explosion, felt eerily similar to the loss they suffered on this very field six months ago to the day: Gam 5 of the NLDS against the Cardinals.
“I think we definitely need to learn from our mistakes,” third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. “It’s the same thing that kind of got us last year, and why we didn’t maybe move on: Because we couldn’t close games out, both pitching and defense-wise. We need to get better at that and learn from our mistakes.”
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