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Instant analysis: Braves 3, Nats 2

Apr 30, 2013, 2:03 AM EST

USA Today Sports Images
Danny Espinosa gets tangled up with Dan Uggla trying to turn a double play.

Game in a nutshell: The Nationals arrived at Turner Field feeling good about themselves after a rebound weekend against the Reds. The Braves returned home reeling from a 3-7 road trip. But then the tides turned for both clubs again, with Atlanta continuing its recent domination of Washington, pulling off its eighth straight win against its NL East rivals. Stephen Strasburg gave up another first-inning run and labored all night, somehow managing to depart after six innings allowing only two runs. Julio Teheran labored even worse, allowing 10 hits over 5 1/3 innings, yet the Nationals could only plate two runs against the erratic right-hander. That turned this game into a battle of bullpens, one that was won by the Braves. Tyler Clippard gave up the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh, with a leadoff walk coming back to haunt him, and the Nationals couldn't produce a late rally against Atlanta's tough-as-nails bullpen. Thus, they suffered another tough loss to their chief competitors and now trail the NL East by 3 1/2 games.

Hitting lowlight: The Nationals put plenty of men on base. They just couldn't drive enough of them in. For that, you can blame some poor execution at the plate in several innings. Strasburg couldn'tRead more ยป

  1. Grandstander - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:06 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Eric - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:07 AM

    ::: gut punch :::Oof

  3. Manassas Nats' Fan - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:07 AM

    Two of the four losses we were winning and gave awsy.McCatty needs to start riding these guys for walking leadoff batters. That is a formula to lose.Clippard really ticks me off.Tim Timmons didnt cost us the game, but he enjoys screwing us when he can. Never sen him make an error for us.

  4. Manassas Nats' Fan - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:08 AM

    I am glad we have a team I gate the execution with RISP. Eck must go.

  5. EmDash - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:08 AM

    Bummer. Hope tomorrow will go better, and that Werth will be okay.

  6. DJB - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:08 AM

    This team is bad, bad, bad. Can't handle pressure at all, and Strasburg is not adjusting at all. I think the Braves take all 4 and we mail in the season.

  7. peric - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:10 AM

    No offense, predictable.

  8. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:10 AM

    Just too many mistakes. Free passes to the leadoff men all night plus the 2 pickoffs were the difference.

  9. SCNatsFan - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:11 AM

    Classic bait and switch. We were sold a playoff team and we have the same old Nats. The difference is instead of being happy with each of the 80 wins I'm going to be miserable with the 82 losses. Guess Davey came back to collect some retirement presents on his farewell tour.

  10. Bob Saget Nats Fan 101 - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:12 AM

    Something has to change. But they are not bad bad bad. If they were that, they would be the worst team in the league

  11. Secret wasian man - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:12 AM

    DJB I agree. Almost as bad as losing is how boring we are. I hate them os but at least they are entertaining

  12. jeffwx - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:13 AM

    nats get 7 hits in first 11 abs but score only twice.pickoffs stink

  13. mick - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:14 AM

    positives, Storen looked very good, Stras finished strongnegatives (same old same old) ALR is just awful. It is no fun to watch an automatic out. Davey's decisions (base running, removing pitchers, etc..) have been wrong almost all the time so far, he takes Stras out 80 pitches, after he KO's the side, them a few games ago he leaves him in 110 pitches.bad luck continues, no breaks, first base ump is simply a bum! in fact, MLB has too much GARBAGE umpiring in 2013!!!

  14. Unknown - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:14 AM

    I will always support our boys. True Nats fans will rally behind this team. We will be back in the playoffs!

  15. sjm308 - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:14 AM

    Lots of frustration here. Still glad I am not reading game posts. No errors, LaRoche on base twice, but I am not feeling what we had last year. Those high expectations are just leaving me with more angst. I have always backed up Jason, but a good throw would have nailed Laird. Very disappointing.Go Nats!!

  16. Manassas Nats' Fan - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:14 AM

    Had the sac fly had been to left Laird would have been out by 10 feet.The lack of hittingvwith RISP is killingvthem. The approach (which is Ecks responsibility) is pathetic. Not advancing people worth a lixk.

  17. Daylos - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:15 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  18. Secret wasian man - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:16 AM

    This team is so boring I actually had to turn on the nba.

  19. Ivan Tuski - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:16 AM

    Davey needs to adapt to the team he has. I know he doesn't like small ball, but they made a conscious decision to trade away [power (morse) for the type of player that makes small ball effective, (Span).It doesn't need to be drastic, you just need to treat every opportunity to score like it could be the winning run. Our swinging for the fences is leaving too many men on base too often.

  20. Section 222 - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:16 AM

    Disappointing game no doubt, but pathetic? Come on. You guys need to lighten up and remember it's a long season. You'll kill yourself with ulcers. Even in our great 2012, we lost 64 games. Not every loss is a disaster. This one wasn't.I tried to imagine Suzuki getting on and Ty-Mo hitting a game winning homer — or did Davey put Bernadina in the No. 9 spot? Either way, I couldn't. You need to beat the Braves in the first six innings or it's lights out. Kind of like what we hoped the Nats' bullpen would be this year.

  21. mick - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:16 AM

    Unknown said…I will always support our boys. True Nats fans will rally behind this team. We will be back in the playoffs!agreed, but I am a realist, Nats will be back in post season in 2014, not this season. Rizzo needs to tweak a few things. 85 wins this year, the typical step back all rising teams go through

  22. Dan Strong - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:17 AM

    The nationals make every lead, no matter how small, look insurmountable. I've said it so many times… If the other team gets ahead, our guys just revert into their "swing-for-the-fence" mentality. Every single time. No good at bats and horrible mistakes gave this game away.

  23. Manassas Nats' Fan - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:18 AM

    i am a big fan and cheeras hard as I can. But I have eyes and not blind, and do call it like it is.Our hitters even with 10 hits we lose to 6 hits.Stras is right now number 4 starter He needs to pitch like old strike out pitcher. The 7th inning Strasburg was old Strasburg.

  24. Secret wasian man - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:19 AM

    Michael morse. Michael morse Michael morse. Power threat and clubhouse leader. ALR just an embarrassment. And the glove doesn't make up for the 136 average.

  25. Eric - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:19 AM

    Stras' pitching this season reminds me of Ray Knight trying to string together a sentence: it usually goes how he wants it to.

  26. mick - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:19 AM

    so Morse has 7 HR's? really bad move Mike, really bad

  27. mick - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:20 AM

    Secret wasian man… BINGO

  28. Manassas Nats' Fan - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:20 AM

    There is no reason to lose the division. Pitchers need to give up less runs then we score.We were ahead, the pitchets just needed to pitch.Last year we won these games 2-1 now ee are losing 3-2.

  29. Daylos - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:20 AM

    Strasburg easily had another inning in him, but gets pulled too early AGAIN. Davey gets to own that decision.

  30. sjm308 - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:21 AM

    So, 25 games into a season that is 162 games long people have already written this team off. Do me a favor and go look at what the SF Giants did in April and May. Look at where Oakland was in June. Neither one was sniffing a playoff spot but last time I checked the Giants won the damn World Series. If you were a fan of the Giants you would have either had to eat a ton of crow or be a hypocrite. We may not put it together this year but you sure can't tell me right now they are done. That is just stupid.

  31. Secret wasian man - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:21 AM

    Not wasting time or money to go watch mediocrity in Pittsburgh. Man I'm pissed. And grandstander you are spot on

  32. Rich P. - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:22 AM

    The Fox guy on Saturday had it right. Clippard is often wild. No command of his fastball leads to a leadoff walk and then lets Jordan Schafer sit on the changeup just like F.P. laid it out. Those announcer dudes know whereof they speak.

  33. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:23 AM

    Who cares if Storen looked good. He always looks good when there is no pressure on. Clippard was and has been simply pathetic all year. He walks just as many as he strikes out. Clippard truly looked as though he couldn't even wait until he walked the first batter. Davey's running decisions this year have been pathetic. Just let the guys stay on base and wait for the batter. Every single time Davey tries to do something cute, like steal or hit and run or bunt, disaster strikes. You just can't have guys like Espinosa and La Roche go out there day after day and expect to win when they are playing like that. Chad Tracy is not a solution for anything. It is hard to see how he even belongs on a MLB team at all. It is early but the bullpen is bad and that isn't likely to change, although it should improve some. The infield play is really bad and Desmond and Espinosa simply aren't getting it done on offense or defense.

  34. JaneB - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:24 AM

    I'm worried about Werth, and now Strasburg with forearm tightness. Yikes. We need to win against these guys finally. I'm glad Drewvhad a great inning.

  35. David Proctor - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:24 AM

    Strasburg got pulled early because he had forearm tightness and is being evaluated by a doctor. But you know more than Davey, right?

  36. DJB - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:24 AM

    Tell me how this team is good. In what phase of the game are they good? And as usual, our $100 million man is sitting. I am so sick of the huckster Rizzo. The only players with heart on this team are Harper, Zimmermann, and Det. The rest of the team are head cases. And we are stuck with these head cases for the next 6 years.

  37. Amr Khani - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:27 AM

    Disappointing, but the Braves were very very fortunate. If the Nats continually put runners on base at a higher rate than the opposition, they are going to win more often in the long run. Umpires didn't help much given Atlanta's second run should not have counted either. Espy now has over 1500 plate appearances as a major leaguer and has gotten worse every year. His approach is terrible. He has no plate discipline. It's time to move on from him.

  38. mick - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:27 AM

    welcome to 500 baseball

  39. do1teach1 - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:28 AM

    I am shocked that analysts still pick the Nats to go the World Series. This team is plagued with problems–especially mental ones.Almost every appearance by a starter or reliever is accompanied by lots of psych-talk about where the pitcher's head is at. Strasburg was visibly mentally upset tonight. We never know where Clip's or Storen's head–or their pitches–will go. Nice job tonight, Clip, walking the leadoff–the winning run. Every leadoff Stras walked, scored.Another stupid error by Espi on a double-play ball (I know they don't rule E's on DP's). WHY does Span get picked off when the greatest hitter of the current ERA is at bat? Why did Chad Tracy get picked off SECOND tonight? WHY did Werth swing on 3-0 the other day with Harper on deck? WHY did Werth get deked by the Brandon Phillips yesterday and made to look like a fool? WHY do our relievers not hold runners? — Burned us again tonight. Repeat–and this BURNED us in GAME FIVE–why don't our relievers hold runners?This is a team that has immersed itself in self-congratulation. We said our bench was the best, but Atlanta's is better; we said our bullpen is the best, but Atlanta's is better; we said our player development is the best, but Atlanta's is better.Soon Ryan will be back, and we can all hold our breath every time our third baseman throws the ball.This is a mental team, I'm afraid. And we do miss Morse. I'm going mental along with the team.

  40. Eric - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:28 AM

    Tuski, your post at 10:16 is on point…I don't think we should abandon long ball, but those chops the Reds were laying down last night would be nice to see on or side.NatsLady's recent post about patient hitting and how pitchers are starting to dominate also suggests to me that maybe it's time to stop pitching to contact as a strategy. Pitching to contact is perfect for teams capable of small ball, and the Reds Sunday and the Cards in general kill us on it.

  41. Daylos - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:28 AM

    They didn't say anything about tightness on the broadcast so no I didn't because I'm not sitting on the bench with them. The fact remains, Davey pulls starters too early and relies on the BP which is still struggling.

  42. sjm308 - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:29 AM

    So glad the comments on here will be fewer since so many will now be giving up. Hope those who think we have no chance either find a good softball team to root for or head up 95 to watch AL ball. Please just don't start talking about how great things are when they turn it around.I wanted Morse as much as anyone but once the decision was made, I figured it was silly to think about what could have been. What good does that do for anyone.

  43. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:30 AM

    Yay, Drew, great inning. LOL.You know that you have hit bottom as a reliever when people compliment you for getting through 1 stinking inning without giving up a run.Storen has been horrible and tonight he didn't show anything that made me feel any better about his implosions against St. Louis and Atlanta. I am afraid that Drew Storen will go down in history as a very poor draft choice by the Nats. He has the rest of the year, but I don't expect to see him with the Nats next year if he doesn't dramatically turn things around.

  44. mick - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:31 AM

    Coach… I hear you, but right now I would rather watch a C swim meet than watch ALR batting, lol

  45. EmDash - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:31 AM

    Just hope everyone's okay. Stras out any length of time would strain my positivity. Braves series lead to bad injury luck, it seems.

  46. baseballswami - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:32 AM

    So why are we worried about Stras having a tired arm? The manager pushed him over a hundred pitches in a couple of high stress games., if he skips a start, so what? Not like he is winning any games. We can call up any one to lose a game. He has only looked good consistently through his outing in his very first start — against the Marlins. Even when he rights the ship. That first inning sets the tone. First pitch was to the backstop. Real problem was getting a ton of hits and not turning them into runs. Pickoff followed by an xbh. Runners on that don't score. Letting pitchers off the hook.

  47. Eric - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:35 AM

    Davey looks bugged. Werth would be bad, Stras would be worse. Ugh.

  48. DJB - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:38 AM

    Guess who we could have had with that Storen pick – Trout. Oh, but Rizzo is a genius. He gives $100 million contracts to perennially injured players, holds on to a batter who clearly can't hit in the Majors, and trades for a head case that throws away Game 5 of the NLDS. Genius, that guy is. Let's extend his contract.

  49. mick - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:39 AM

    Eric said…Davey looks bugged. Werth would be bad, Stras would be worse. Ugh.it would be typical. DC is snake bitten, maybe someone did something unsavory to a goat a 100 years ago like what happen to the Cubs, lol it would simply suck!

  50. EmDash - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:40 AM

    Pitcher wins aren't a good measure of pitcher ability, we all know that. He hasn't given up a lot of runs, no matter how much he's had to battle. Losing him for more than a start or two would be hugely bad.

  51. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:41 AM

    I have to say that right now, I am not finding Strasburg particularly interesting to watch as a pitcher, or as a hitter, or as a bunter. He is moderately effective on the mound, but something is missing. It is hardly a tragedy if he misses a couple of games.

  52. mick - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:41 AM

    DJBRizzo is the reason Nats won 98 games. who would you want Bowden???

  53. baseballswami - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:41 AM

    Losing Werth would be bad. Come on, guys. The Nats have not played well, but there has also been awful BABIP, bad hops. Bad umpiring, really weird month of April. Poor defense– the Nats??? Our silver slugger can 't hit the side of a barn? It's upside down universe. Quit worrying about the frickin Barves and the post season and the World Series. It's a journey. An unpredictable journey. Game tomorrow. Go Nats.

  54. Manassas Nats' Fan - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:42 AM

    Harvey left last game with tightness actually most leave 2 or 3 games a year and nothing said). Harvey was great tonight.My dad told me back in 1960 there has always been one constant in baseball. The pitchers always determine the winning team.

  55. mick - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:43 AM

    to add to what swami posted, gang, uh Nats played fairly well with Werth out, most of 2012, HELLO.if we have all this depth, then there should be no worries, right??

  56. jay12 - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:44 AM

    I'm extremely disappointed by this team so far. We had sky high expectations with sky high talent and we are playing .500 baseball. It is very early in the season but how long is it going to take to fix all these mistakes?? Bad bullpen, bad timely hitting, we strike out like its our job, and espinosa is still kept in the lineup. Espinosa needs to be sent away from this team. He hasn't been great on D and just isn't good at the plate. Strasburg needs to get over this 1st inning thing it is putting this team in a hole and he's supposed to be our ace. I just don't know how you can fix all these problems

  57. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:44 AM

    Strasburg allowed 10 base runners in only 6 innings. He was lucky, as was the Atlanta pitcher, that so few runs scored.

  58. baseballswami - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:45 AM

    No wins don't always tell the story of how a pitcher pitches. But even though Stras hasn't pitched badly, he does not look ace- like at all. Overall JZ, Gio and Det have all looked better. Forearm tightness is not usually a big deal. Let's move on to tomorrow and pray for run support.

  59. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:47 AM

    Our depth is gone. Morse is gone. We let Sean Burnett go. Our top hitters off the bench are Chad Tracy and Bernadina and Tyler Moore, who have like 5 hits between them for the season. All four of our infielders are playing far, far worse than last year, both on offense and defense. We are lucky to be 13-13.

  60. DJB - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:48 AM

    Really, if Stras is this fragile, then he's close to useless over the long term.

  61. jay12 - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:49 AM

    ok don't forget that Sean Burnett was put on the DL and Michael Morse is better than Laroche but not so much…he has 7 homers but is hitting around .235

  62. do1teach1 - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:49 AM

    How many MLB teams have a guy like Henry in their bullpen, whom they absolutely have to HIDE? How many winning teams dismantled their entire successful lefty corps in their bullpen?

  63. Daylos - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:50 AM

    Gio needs to step up his game tomorrow. A repeat of his last start is greatly needed. I'm not going to start to worry until we hit the 1/4 pole. Having said that, nothing seems to be going right and that is cause for a tiny bit of concern.

  64. Eric - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:51 AM

    "DC is snake bitten, maybe someone did something unsavory to a goat a 100 years ago"Or everyday down where the mall and N, S, and E Capitol streets converge ;)

  65. Manassas Nats' Fan - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:53 AM

    Tired all this Morse talk. Lets see who is responsible for more runs?Morse 9 runs (7 homers so 2 other runs). 11 RBI, but 7 were runs he scored. TOTAL 13.Span 11 runs (0 HR) . 9 RBI(none were himself) Total 20.So Span responsuble for 7 more runs.Who saved more runs I am sure Span.So why are we concerned about no Morse?

  66. Joe Seamhead - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:55 AM

    I'm wondering if Strasburg was hurt last year right before he was shut down. He has not really had the command he was known for all year, and to not have it with his fastball is especially puzzling. That was a heck of a shot Werth took off his ankle, or top of his foot. Didn't look good..500 at the end of April? 3 1/2 back? Relax, will you.Mark, thanks for all you do to supply us with this blog. Most of us try hard to respect your request that we keep it family friendly with the language.

  67. Doc - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:56 AM

    The umps beat us at 3B, 1B, and Home. You can't lose that many decisions to a team like the Braves and still compete.Davey needs to take a page from his former mentor, Earl The Pearl, and kick up a bit of dust and tell the clowns in black to go @#%* themsleves!!!! Tearing up a rule book in their presence wouldn't hurt either!!!!!

  68. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:58 AM

    I wanted Morse and Span, both.

  69. BxJaycobb - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:59 AM

    Stras is hurt. How is nobody talking about this? The guy was shaking his elbow and shoulder the entire game. It was obvious to everybody who watched including the ESPN team.

  70. Doc - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:00 AM

    I was wondering if Stras's arm is bothering him? He kept shaking it in between pitches, and he was seen in a long conversation with the trainer after he was taken out.

  71. Eric - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:00 AM

    I'm confused why people think it's weird to be freaked about Stras having forearm issues… there's a history there, after all.

  72. DJB - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:00 AM

    Gio will crap all over himself just like he did during the last Braves series. Gio and pressure are not a good mix.

  73. peric - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:01 AM

    I wanted Morse and Span, both.To do that you'd have to lose Werth.

  74. Manassas Nats' Fan - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:02 AM

    I didnt say a pitcher's determines how good he it determines who wins the game.In 1960 my dad told you could pitch poirly or good, it didn't mstter as long you gave up less runs then the opponent pitcher. A 10-9 win was better performance the a 1-0 loss as the point of the game was to give up less runs than the other pitchers gave up. That has been true well over 100 years.

  75. Daylos - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:05 AM

    Strasburg tends to shake his arm a lot, but apparently there is something wrong this time. I didn't see any conversation with the trainer in the dugout. I wonder why our crack broadcast team didn't bring it to the attention of the viewing audience?

  76. Manassas Nats' Fan - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:06 AM

    Werth with contract going nowhere.Span's number better than Morse.

  77. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:08 AM

    Why not platoon Morse and La Roche at first, and Tyler Moore and Span/Werth in the outfield? Casey Stengel used to do a lot of platooning. It is too late now.

  78. Eric - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:08 AM

    +1 to Morse 3 minutes ago ;)But, I'm not upset over losing him. He's definitely not the cure for what ails us. If he were, we wouldn't have been a bag of nerves in the NLDS.

  79. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:09 AM

    Giancarlo Stanton just went down with a leg injury (hamstring, maybe). That stadium is EMPTY.

  80. Daylos - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:11 AM

    The NLDS was a matter of "been there, done that" vs. "the new guys on the block". 100% predictable.

  81. Rich P. - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:14 AM

    "peric said… I wanted Morse and Span, both. To do that you'd have to lose Werth. "No, they could just have not re-signed LaRoche.

  82. Ivan Tuski - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:23 AM

    the one thing worse than a loss is the ridiculous sky is falling "Rizzo is the worst" and basically our whole team sux mentality of a hand full of posters that only come out when we lose. Crawl back under your rocks and come out when you have some well thought observations to share! I don't recognize a lot of these names from when we are playing well which baffles me as to why some people only feel like posting negatively. Weird

  83. Eric - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:27 AM

    "baffles me as to why some people only feel like posting negatively"Tuski, meet the Internet. The Internet, meet Tuski.;)

  84. Jerry - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:32 AM

    Stras was pulled because he was leading of the 7th in a tie game on the road. Didn't have anything to do with pitching really. In that spot, you hit for the pitcher 10 out of 10 times.

  85. m - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:36 AM

    Strasburg has arm problems which is why he was taken out. You saw him in the 6th shaking his arm. I would not be surprised to see him go on the DL.

  86. Alphabet Soup Erik - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:38 AM

    Shut up Ivan. People come here to vent. This is not a good team and Rizzo deserves plenty of the blame. True fans are allowed to get upset when their team is a shadow of its former self…and yes, about 21 of the 25 players do suck right now.

  87. Jerry - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:39 AM

    He was shaking his arm all night. The 6th was the best inning he pitched. He's got some arm stiffness, but strategically, you pull him there regardless. Maybe not at home, but definitely on the road.

  88. whatsanattau - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:42 AM

    Settle down pessimists. It's going to get better. We will eventually need to beat the Braves and Cardinals, but we can do that in October. In the meantime, try not to be a bunch of embittered old curmudgeons.

  89. BxJaycobb - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:47 AM

    Ah forearm tightness. Apologies…I look foolish. Turned the game off when we went down in the 8th. Even I know not to stay tuned for Kimbrel. Bottom line I think is this: let's look at this team honestly and compare it to Atlanta position by position: First. Freeman is better, plain and simple. Not as good defensively, but way beyond ALR offensively at this point in their careers. Second: Adv Braves (not on D but way better O). Short: Edge Nats. Third: When he's healthy, maybe Ryan's better. But not now. Wash. Catcher: Adv Braves (Gattis and McCann obviously better than Ramos/Suzuki. Left field: Nats adv but not by much, at least right now. Center: probably a wash, but give Nats the slight adv. Right: Huge Braves adv. So position players: 3/4 to 6/5. But fair to say, Braves better. Starters: Stras over Hudson, Gio Medlen wash probably, Zimmermann over Maholm, Minor over Haren, Det over Teheran. So probably a 3-2 Nats advantage is fair. Bullpen: This is the big wipeout. The Braves have arguably the best bullpen in baseball, and ours right now is shaky to put it generously. But Closer: huge braves adv, set-up: big braves adv, long relief, maybe a wash. So really, the team's are close, but I think you have to say that without rose colored glasses, and with Stras under-performing and Haren being horrible, the Braves have a marginally better squad. Thoughts?

  90. Rich P. - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:53 AM

    "Thoughts?"It ain't football. Position-by-position comparisons are meaningless.

  91. Eric - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:55 AM

    Bx, I think a 3-2 Nats loss is a perfect representation of Nats v. Braves right now.

  92. Less Platu - Apr 30, 2013 at 4:45 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  93. Eric - Apr 30, 2013 at 4:57 AM

    Ah…Angelos shills…I think I get it now.

  94. Secret wasian man - Apr 30, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    Alphabet soup. You just covered everything. Thank you.

  95. Manassas Nats' Fan - Apr 30, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    I am of the other cap. The team is very good, but simply not executing little things, thus the results are poor.

  96. Manassas Nats' Fan - Apr 30, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    Two of last 4 games vs. The Braves the bullpen, has failed.

  97. Rabbit34 - Apr 30, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    The biggest problem with the Nats this year…….STRIKE THREE..STRIKE THREE..STRIKE THREE. We need bats.

  98. Muddy - Apr 30, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    Tough April. Someone here called the Nats boring. Harper ain't boring! Very fun to watch. But the rest of the team seems way too "even keel" — Zimmerman, LAR, Desi, Span, Werth seem to be "going through the motions". That's were I miss Morse the most. And this year's sloppy play is painful to watch, unlike last year's crisp play. … Please excuse another vent: Part of the pain for me is Espi. His sloppy play on Saturday should have earned him a place on the pine but, no, he starts on Sunday and Monday — in the two hole! His first at bat last night was typical. On a 3-2 count he strikes out on a pitch way above the strike zone, seemingly with his eyes closed, applying his usual wild nanosecond-in-the-strike-zone swing that I've seen way too much of already. And then Span gets picked off. Way to start vs. the Braves. Oy.

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ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 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: 1:30 p.m., 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.

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