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Braves pound Gio, sweep Nats

Apr 14, 2013, 10:21 PM EST

Photo by USA Today

In what should be a season-long battle of two powerhouse clubs, each with goals even bigger than the N.L. East division in mind, the Braves struck first with a convincing series sweep at Nationals Park. The surging Braves showed the Nats an early glimpse of what they are capable of, that this division may have the two best teams in the National League.
It’s only halfway through April, but a 9-0 drubbing in front of 39,389 fans at Nationals Park sent an early season statement.
“This division got tougher,” Ian Desmond said. “I don’t think there’s going to be a 100-game winner in this division. It’s going to be a battle all year long.”
“We got a good taste of what they’re bringing to the table this year.”
Center fielder Denard Span said the Nats weren’t exactly surprised by what the Braves brought to D.C. this weekend, but perhaps humbled by the resulting sweep.
“They just gave us a good ol’ fashioned kick in the butt,” he said.

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  1. Gonat - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:24 PM

    I just got home. Even though it was a blow-out, most of the Nats fans stayed hoping for a miracle rally that never happened. 151 games to go. These are 3 of those 50 games that the Nats will lose and frustrate us as fans.On to Miami and back to winning!

  2. Rabbit34 - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    Today was a good preview of things to come. People will see things a lot clearer when they take their heads out of the sand. It is fun reading player comments though and it is fun going to the games but not expecting anything much. So far, so good …. .500 season.

  3. nats guy - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    All I can say thank god for Miami. At least they can't finish in last place. Gotta agree with Rabbit. Not a World Series team unless they get that bullpen fixed. I don't know how they do that now. Not in their prospects and they would have to trade a lot to get some help.

  4. peric - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    Can't really make any kind of assessment until at least 40 games. They do have talent they aren't using such as Tyler Moore. They do have some semblance of cavalry for the bullpen down in Syracuse.What they don't have are viable long-term replacements for Stras, JZimnn, Gio, and Detwiler. But the Braves are worse off in this category so … The offense is anemic and will remain so until Zim gets past his shoulder surgery and Tyler Moore gets in the lineup more.

  5. JaneB - Apr 14, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    Ouch. So. Regroup. Our guys are solid and for real. They will figure it out.

  6. baseballswami - Apr 14, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    Today the Reds blew a five run lead and got swept by Pittsburgh . Remember last weekend? Ups and downs. Not all one or all the other. Tough weekend. They won't all be that way.

  7. NatsLady - Apr 14, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    Remember how good we thought Cincinnati was when we were there? Remember how after week one pundits were saying the Reds were the best team in the NL? They have lost 5 straight. They got swept by Pittsburgh who (cough, cough) everyone had written off. The good news is Espinosa's wrist and the rest that the bullpen got. Henry is a really funny pitcher. Gets the first two out easily, I mean, easily, walks two, throws a crazy wild pitch. Nobody scores. You can't say it's "mental" because there IS no lower leverage situation than today. I'm coming around to Rizzo/Davey's position that Henry just can't manage his stuff. Maybe he will figure it out…BTW, I'm listening on my way home to some game, maybe the Angels, and the announcer says that EJax and some other pitcher combined to throw a record FIVE wild pitches in one inning. Take THAT, Henry!!I didn't see any chops, though there were quite a lot of Atlanta fans there. They were very well-behaved, maybe because of Kids Run the Bases and Puppies in the Park. A lot of people stayed, the crowd was over 39K and didn't start emptying until around the 8th inning. Seems like many people made a day of it, the cafe-restaurants around the park were filled up with people at outdoor tables. Go to Miami and beat up on the Fish, because the Mets will not be a piece of cake. Just like last year they seem decent but will most likely fade after June. Halladay and Hamels both had good starts. Fillies ain't going anywhere.

  8. Drew - Apr 14, 2013 at 11:22 PM

    The Nats are not a bad team. They're a very good team that has lost 5 games to two excellent clubs.The Giants and the Cardinals are excellent, too. The sky isn't falling. We know any one of five teams can win the pennant — six if you include the Kershaws.It won't be beanbag. It will be hardball, but the Nats will be in this thing.Better days are coming. Rendon went 4 for 4 today with 2 doubles and 2 RBIs. He's at .316.

  9. Manassas Nats' Fan - Apr 14, 2013 at 11:29 PM

    Hitting needs to rebound. Last 26 innimgs 1 run 10 hits.

  10. SonnyG10 - Apr 14, 2013 at 11:50 PM

    We will be ok folks. Our winning streaks are comming. Just hang in there.

  11. Joe Seamhead - Apr 14, 2013 at 11:51 PM

    Anyway, I took my youngest grandson to the game for his 7th birthday. Other then the Nats embarrassing effort, we had a great day. He got a Harper jersey, and a cap, from the team store. Then we hustle down the lower level to the Signature Sunday to stand in line for Tyler Clippard's autograph, and he got it. His first pro autograph. Very cool for a seven year old. He was walking on air all day. Unlike some of the bloggers, he like Clip. Just not as much as Bryce.Nats Jack, Not that it did him any good but, Werth went back to Werewolves of London for his third AB walk up song. Not much reaction from the Sunday crowd. Also, Jack, remember to follow your advice you threw out at me this morning. They're not worth it.This team ran into a buzzsaw this weekend, and we went totally flat, along with the crowd after the team started out with the 4-0 lead Friday. By the fourth inning Friday night they had somehow lost the boisterous crowd, never got them, or their game back. I thought that there was a good chance that we wouldn't jump out of the gate and run away with this.We have a tough front end schedule. I saw around .500 for April/ early May and that's looking quite possible. That said, I still think we will ultimately win the NL East. Nobody gets 100 wins in the division, but I'm still saying, "Relax. We got this." You'll see. GYFNG!!!

  12. peric - Apr 14, 2013 at 11:56 PM

    Better days are coming. Rendon went 4 for 4 today with 2 doubles and 2 RBIs. He's at .316.He'll tear up the Eastern League for a couple of months then get sent to Syracuse to make the Chiefs an almost major league team since they also get Chris Young. They'll be as good as the Astros at that point mebbe better. After that? He and others are just a phone call today just like Solano. The BravetyBrave Braves fan twit on the NJ was raving about his farm system. Syracuse easily outclasses the Gwinnett Braves. This year in AAA the Nats should be really pretty damned good.

  13. Gonat - Apr 14, 2013 at 11:59 PM

    Manassas, hard to get going with 2 starters in the 4 and 5 that are swinging at air and worse than that grounding into doubleplays and Espinosa in the 7 is batting a buck seventy-five.

  14. baseballswami - Apr 15, 2013 at 12:02 AM

    Saw a comment on twitter that made me ponder. I am well aware that the guys are not playing up to par, but I have watched most of every game and there have been an awful lot of random little things – not one has gone our way. Players make mistakes, but some you get away with- ours have had consequences that were glaring. Balls have not dropped, have gone directly to a player, they have made amazing plays. But the thing that made me ponder was a remark about Bernie's AB. Horrible, horrible strike calls. At least two not- really- hit batters, bad out/ safe calls, bad strike zones- again, overwhelmingly not in our favor. That kind of bad juju just has to balance out. I mean, it's been two weeks with about two months worth of weirdness. Come on- I am not just being a homer. If you have been watching then you see it.

  15. peric - Apr 15, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    Espinosa in the 7 is batting a buck seventy-five.LaRoche in the 5 is doing worse.

  16. peric - Apr 15, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    They're not going to hit for a lot of power particularly acute given Zim's ongoing rehab and recovery from the shoulder surgery. No matter what you say it is what it is. And you just have to accept it if this lineup stays the same.

  17. Gonat - Apr 15, 2013 at 12:19 AM

    peric said… Espinosa in the 7 is batting a buck seventy-five.LaRoche in the 5 is doing worse. April 14, 2013 8:03 PM _____________________________peric, LaRoche is but his contact has been better. In small sample sizes unlucky BABIP of 2 or 3 that could've been hits will skew it to super ugly. Think about it.

  18. Unknown - Apr 15, 2013 at 12:43 AM

    I like Span's comments – veteran sizing up the job at hand and realizing he and his teammates need to get better fast to keep up.Don't like Danny's comments at all. "I still think we're better"? That sounds like D-Hall and the rest of the Skins with their endless stream of hubris even after they've gotten their arses kicked, like what happened in this series.Danny needs to grab some splinters until his play improves and his mouth shuts. Rendon is knock-knock-knocking on the major's door, Danny-boy and it's a results-based league and you and the Nats ain't measuring up right now.Let your play talk for you – this series' speaks volumes….

  19. peric - Apr 15, 2013 at 12:45 AM

    peric, LaRoche is but his contact has been better.Either way … he is off to a slow start.Danny's rotator cuff still concerns me.

  20. peric - Apr 15, 2013 at 12:52 AM

    Harper hits the cover off the ball the beginning of the first game. They adjust to him and shut him completely down the rest of the series. End of offense ending with the coup de grace … a nine to nothing shutout and shutdown. That tells me the only hitter in the Nat's lineup they fear is Harper. With Tyler Moore that doesn't happen.

  21. Secret wasian man - Apr 15, 2013 at 12:59 AM

    Its not bad JU JU. Its bad play. especially from Zimm and LaRoche at the plate. This team quit today. Something you did not see last season. That is worrisome.

  22. peric - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:05 AM

    Some people also reported that Harper stopped hustling …

  23. Whynat - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:06 AM

    Agree that I don't like espy and stras's recent comments about being better. Keep your mouth shut and let your play do the talking. Braves beat em three different different ways: come from behind, duel, and absolute beat down as the capper. I'm tired of hearing how good they are. I want to see it. It almost sounds like they are trying to convince themselves.

  24. John C. - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:06 AM

    Rabbit34 and nats guy should change their handles to "eeyore1" and "eeyore2." Always with the negative waves!

  25. peric - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:15 AM

    U Make the CALL: who is worse?D. Espinosa: 40 AB, 6 SO, 2BBA. LaRoche: 34 AB, 10 SO, 3BBD. Espinosa: 4 2B, 1 HR .175/.233/.583A. LaRoche 0 2B, 2 HR, .147/.216/.540

  26. MJR - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:19 AM

    Going back a couple of posts to Swami's comment about de Rosa and Mikey Mo…I was thinking the same thing. The entire team looks stiff and serious…they're not clicking, not having fun. Could be that they've lost some of that positive mojo those two guys brought to the clubhouse last year and that's having an effect on their collective psyche. Loosen up boys…it's your job…but it's still a GAME.

  27. SonnyG10 - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:25 AM

    I disagree with "Unknown" and "Whynat" regarding Danny's and Stras' remarks about being better than the Braves. If you want to be the best, then you must think you're the best. The whole team needs to believe they are the best and it doesn't bother me one bit if they say so. At least I know they're thinking the right way.

  28. nats guy - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:32 AM

    Hey John C.I never attacked you personally. I stated what I see as a problem. They have no bullpen. I didn't call you a name. Cut out the personal digs. After the season is over we'll see who is correct. It's only a game and I have been watching it since the Senators of 1961. I have said the defense will right itself and I have not been beating up Ryan Zimmerman. I do think they are going to have a very long season unless they find a way to get a bullpen.Cut out the personal shots!!!!!!!!

  29. Gonat - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:41 AM

    peric said… U Make the CALL: who is worse?D. Espinosa: 40 AB, 6 SO, 2BBA. LaRoche: 34 AB, 10 SO, 3BBD. Espinosa: 4 2B, 1 HR .175/.233/.583A. LaRoche 0 2B, 2 HR, .147/.216/.540_________________________________________I watched or have been at all of the games and I will say they are both a disappointment.

  30. Whynat - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:42 AM

    Baseball highlight for me today was steady Eddie's glove find. It's a beautiful game and that episode captured it.

  31. Eric - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:43 AM

    Somehow I am more relaxed about everything now. I dunno why. Thomas Boswell had a great article in the Post a couple of weeks ago about how no team catapults directly to the WS in their first winning season. They need to learn how to choke and lose and then…just let it go.Honestly, I don't think the Nats have emerged from playoff mentality yet. I know I only just did during game two of the series with the White Sox. Zimm's throw to second yesterday reeked not of a lingering injury to me, but of panic. In a perverse way (that Boswell put much more succinctly than me), I think these kinds of losses will ultimately help them. Staying on the good side of 500 will help ensure it doesn't sink them when it happens.But, we'll see.

  32. peric - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:55 AM

    Yep just have to wait and see how it all winnows out.

  33. Ivan Tuski - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:57 AM

    Matt Stairs

  34. Eric - Apr 15, 2013 at 2:01 AM

    PS…if I may expose my n00b…what does GYNFG stand for?

  35. John C. - Apr 15, 2013 at 2:04 AM

    No personal offense intended, nats guy; I view "Eeyore" as pretty mild way of suggesting that all is not darkness & doom. Of course, I've been on a show this weekend and so didn't have to sit through these three games. But I've sat through worse, even last year.

  36. Manassas Nats' Fan - Apr 15, 2013 at 2:04 AM

    wish I had the numbers after 12 games last year to compare.this yearRuns 11thERA 11thFielding 15thIn all three areas we are bottom third. Despite that still 7-5.

  37. Ivan Tuski - Apr 15, 2013 at 2:10 AM

    Go you freakin Nsts go. (I had to ask last year)

  38. mick - Apr 15, 2013 at 2:11 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. mick - Apr 15, 2013 at 2:12 AM

    I like the Stras, Ian and Danny stating "I don't think the Braves are better than us" However, I remember a certain character in an old Monty Python movie who was cut down to the stub by the black knight proclaiming "I got you right where I want you"lol

  40. peric - Apr 15, 2013 at 2:12 AM

    And for Nats fans? Its Matt "Stares".

  41. peric - Apr 15, 2013 at 2:13 AM

    Its just a flesh wound you Tomahawkers!

  42. peric - Apr 15, 2013 at 2:15 AM

    The best news is the return of the heirloom glove. May seem like a small favor but in the grand scheme of things maybe its at least bigger than the Braves series.

  43. mick - Apr 15, 2013 at 2:17 AM

    "its just a flesh wound, I'm invincible, come back here Braves!"lol

  44. mick - Apr 15, 2013 at 2:17 AM

    lol peric

  45. SonnyG10 - Apr 15, 2013 at 2:22 AM

    peric said…The best news is the return of the heirloom glove. May seem like a small favor but in the grand scheme of things maybe its at least bigger than the Braves series.April 14, 2013 10:15 PMI second this comment.

  46. mick - Apr 15, 2013 at 2:27 AM

    Good night my Insider friends, in addition to being a sports fan, I am a Monty Python nut from back in the day and I leave you all with…….Some things in life are badThey can really make you madOther things just make you swear and curseWhen you're chewing on life's gristleDon't grumble, give a whistleAnd this'll help things turn out for the bestAnd always look on the bright side of life……lol

  47. Gonat - Apr 15, 2013 at 2:34 AM

    Eric said… PS…if I may expose my n00b…what does GYNFG stand for?_______________________________Go You Friggin Nats Go

  48. Eric - Apr 15, 2013 at 2:52 AM

    Grazie all, re: GYFNG.

  49. Section 222 - Apr 15, 2013 at 3:03 AM

    Eric, welcome. And if you want, check out the NIDO Spreadsheet, on the tab called Glossary. Lots of Insider lore there, including definitions of GYFNG, PFB, and other frequently used shorthand.

  50. Eric - Apr 15, 2013 at 3:18 AM

    Haha, awesome, y'all don't mess around with yer lingo 😉.

  51. Gonat - Apr 15, 2013 at 3:22 AM

    Sect222, the Glossary is very nice! You are missing "Sweet Holy Moses" from Mark and some of the great FP terms we use like the 5.5 hole and "there goes the no-hitter".

  52. Gonat - Apr 15, 2013 at 3:24 AM

    Sect222, and Trust but Verify

  53. peric - Apr 15, 2013 at 3:25 AM

    And there's some missing … things like "tweeter" … and Bryce's dog Swag for that matter … the "Magnolia Muscle".

  54. peric - Apr 15, 2013 at 3:28 AM

    And there's worse news …Its almost tax day.

  55. peric - Apr 15, 2013 at 3:34 AM

    And good news? Jeff Kobernus was left out of two games … the home opener and the 1st game of today's double header. In the second game he went 3 for 4 scored a run and swiped a base to make it 5.Jeff Kobernus is now batting .556.

  56. peric - Apr 15, 2013 at 3:38 AM

    Make that 2 bases swiped. Kobernus might swipe a good number before the Chief's are through.

  57. peric - Apr 15, 2013 at 3:38 AM

    Remember that Chase: Jeff Kobernus .556 average.

  58. sjm308 - Apr 15, 2013 at 3:40 AM

    OK – I have stayed away after listening to all of the game while doing yard work.Pleased to see there is nothing horrible here. Lots of worry and legitimate concerns.Gonat – I would say that two of these games would fall in the 50 we were going to lose no matter what but not that first one. We gave that away and that is one of those games that honestly matters. If you have 50 you are going to win and 50 you are going to lose and the other 60 are the key, that first game was one of those. We should have won that one.Like Peric, I want to wait till 40 games but I am concerned about all the errors. I have to think we are leading the league in errors right now and that is not a good thing. I can deal with poor plate production since that will usually work itself out but the errors bother me. That is basically lack of focus.Have to get back to winning 2 of 3 and we have two great series to do just that.Go Nats!!

  59. Section 222 - Apr 15, 2013 at 3:48 AM

    Excellent additions Gonat! (Btw, I think Mark actually says Sweet Fancy Moses.) Others may elaborate on your definitions or descriptions of their origins, like I wonder if someone could find the first time Mark said Sweet Fancy Moses on this blog. It would be cool to know what the play was that inspired him to use that great expression. The Glossary and other tabs on the NIDO Spreadsheet represent the collective work and intelligence of a great and growing community. Not to mention a whole lot of drinking if we were ever to pay our debts!

  60. Gonat - Apr 15, 2013 at 3:49 AM

    sjm, you are right. Painful.

  61. peric - Apr 15, 2013 at 4:29 AM

    Meanwhile the Chiefs are starting the year out swimmingly in spite of the cold, wet rain, and the ever present chance of snow this early in the spring. I'm not sure what Rizzo, Clark, Harris, and Beasley told them but whatever it is its working for a major part of the Chief's roster. They may soon get Rahl or Komatsu and both are better than Eury Perez placed on the DL with the wrist. Plus, Rendon should be on his way to the International League eventually … Nate Karns is pitching better as a starter but most of our 'pseudo' scouts still believe he will end up in the bullpen. I guess we'll see … I always fancied him a starter but that was before the shoulder surgery …

  62. NatsLady - Apr 15, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    Seamhead, I'm with you. Last year the Nats got swept by the Dodgers and came home dragging and lost another one. Also lost a tough sweep to the Yankees, plus that 9-0 game. When Atltanta came out of the gate 13-1 in 1994, guess who caught up and overran them–your Montreal Expos. Just play one at a time, boys, one at a time.

  63. Gonat - Apr 15, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    So far the Nats have done a great job of beating those teams they should be beating.We all know the Braves series started out wrong and the Braves got the momentum. It happens.Now time to look forward.

  64. Another_Sam - Apr 15, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    I just looked in the paper. There's another game coming up. The score in that one is 0-0. Play ball.

  65. Section 135 - Apr 15, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    Zimmerman should be called out for his poor play. He basically lost two games in this series. He looks slow and overweight; his hitting is weak; he should not be in the 4 hole; his defense is a liability and he appears to not care. I'm sure he'll eventually get hot, but I expected more out of him

  66. baseballswami - Apr 15, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    I have a friend that posts quotes every morning. Today it is — the good thing about the future is that it happens one day at a time. Lincoln. Appropriate for the day. I think a lot of us got ahead of ourselves and started thinking October when it's only April. And also maybe we were thinking Fairy Tales and we are getting reality tv. There is a lot of uh-oh, and what the heck is wrong with the Nats? Guess we all have to watch it play out over the next 5-6 months. And that is a long time. We did not even know what the post season would look like in August. I can't live all mad and frustrated. I am going to have to take this one game at a time and realize there are no guarantees.

  67. Gonat - Apr 15, 2013 at 11:41 AM excited about that boxscore. Rendon and Goodwin leading the way.

  68. Steady Eddie - Apr 15, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    Whynat, peric, Sonny from above and everyone else who made thoughtful comments on the game thread — thanks for your thoughtfulness on the glove finding. While I was prepared to let it go as it's only a replaceable "thing", it's much better to actually still have it for our daughter and family.And thanks especially to our friend who endured a really bad ball game and exerted himself across multiple parts of the stadium to reclaim it.

  69. Another_Sam - Apr 15, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    Swami — you nailed it again. Thanks, man.

  70. NatsLady - Apr 15, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Steady, glad you got the glove and glad you have good friends!!!

  71. natsfan1a - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    Great news, Eddie!





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