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Instant analysis: Braves 10, Nats 2

Apr 13, 2014, 4:32 PM EST

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The Nationals arrived at Turner Field today reeling from injuries to Ryan Zimmerman and Denard Span and from back-to-back losses to a Braves club that has completely owned them the last two seasons. Could they find a way to salvage one weekend victory against their division rivals, as they did last Sunday in D.C.? Uh, no.

Gio Gonzalez was tagged for six early runs, once again putting the Nationals in a big hole in Atlanta, and the rest was pretty much academic. Down early and unable to mount any kind of rally against veteran right-hander Aaron Harang, the Nats slogged their way through their third straight loss this weekend, leaving them ever-searching for an answer against the Braves.

The Nationals are now 1-5 vs. Atlanta this season, 6-0 against everyone else. Dating back to last season, they’re 7-18 against the Braves, who have perhaps gotten into their heads along the way.

HITTING LOWLIGHT: The Nationals had gobs of opportunities during Saturday night’s loss but couldn’t deliver, going 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position. They didn’t even give themselves many chances on Sunday against Harang, who cruised through his six innings. The only run came in the fifth on Kevin Frandsen’s double, Danny Espinosa’s bunt single and an RBI groundout by Jose Lobaton. Otherwise, a Nationals lineup that is going to have to scratch and claw without Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos for awhile came up woefully short this afternoon.

PITCHING LOWLIGHT: Knowing his team needing him to come up big today, Gonzalez instead fell flat. The left-hander was battered around early, putting himself in a first-inning jam with a walk and poor throw on a bunt attempt. Justin Upton made him pay by crushing a home run to straightaway center. The Braves then hit for the cycle in the bottom of the second, with Gonzalez serving up another towering homer to Freddie Freeman that essentially put this game out of reach early. To his credit, Gonzalez managed to slog his way through six innings and not give up anything else. If nothing else, he kept the bullpen from being burned up and perhaps helped his team out later this week. But silver linings aside, the Nationals needed better from their No. 2 starter today, and they didn’t get it.

KEY STAT: The Braves outscored the Nationals 14-1 in the first two innings of this weekend’s games.

UP NEXT: The Nationals will happily head out of Atlanta and down to Miami, where a three-game series at Marlins Park awaits. Jordan Zimmermann and Brad Hand face off in a rematch of Wednesday’s game in D.C., one in which Zimmermann was knocked out after a career-low 1 2/3 innings but saw his teammates rally to win 10-7 on Jayson Werth’s eighth-inning grand slam.

  1. manassasnatsfan - Apr 13, 2014 at 4:35 PM

    First game of the season that as a group the team was totally not focused today.

    Concerned that 4 of last 5 starting pitchers were totally not prepared for the first inning.

  2. Joe Seamhead - Apr 13, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    Injuries really had little to do with this disaster. This team was overmatched, and they were not prepared.
    Let’s eat some fish.

    • Joe Seamhead - Apr 13, 2014 at 4:38 PM

      By “disaster” I meant the whole series.

      • tcostant - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:54 AM

        Now I know how that coyote felt going up against that roadrunner. Better on paper, but the roadrunner always seems to gets the best of the coyote.

  3. Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 13, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    Game In a Nutshell: we got our butts handed to us and we were embarrassing…

    On to the fish…

  4. manassasnatsfan - Apr 13, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    Better than game 12 last year where Go pitched and we lost 9-0 to Braves. I felt I wasted my money that day as no one put in an effort.

  5. David Proctor - Apr 13, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    1-5 vs the Braves, 6-0 against everyone else. I’ll take a 143-19 record.

    • scmargenau - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:23 AM

      That’s so weak. Just capitulate 14 more games. That mentality is why we lost.

    • scmargenau - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:23 AM

      That’s so weak. Just capitulate 14 more games. That mentality is why we lost.

  6. manassasnatsfan - Apr 13, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    Do we need a sports psychiatrist to help us against Braves.

    • Sonny G 10 - Apr 13, 2014 at 6:16 PM

      I don’t know about the team, but I think us fans do.

  7. joemktg - Apr 13, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    What is going on with the starters’ ERA in the first and second innings? MLB worst first inning ERA: 9.82. 6.55 in the second inning.

  8. manassasnatsfan - Apr 13, 2014 at 4:42 PM

    One thing I can say positive Carpenter and FP are good where Jim Nance is terrible at the Masters. He talks non stop. I just wants shots.

    Carp and FP know when to talk and when not too.

    • natsfan1a - Apr 13, 2014 at 4:48 PM

      Another positive, no more listening to the chop for some time.

  9. texnat1 - Apr 13, 2014 at 4:45 PM

    This was a gut check series, and the Nats came up utterly gutless. Injuries are no excuse. Lord knows Atlanta had them. This team has to decide whether they want to win or be pretty good.

    Clippard blowing the game on Friday when a win could have been so important was huge. Gio blowing up when the team really needed him was pathetic. Can anyone really say they were surprised though? When has Gio put up a gut check performance for this team?

    This team lacks guts.

  10. Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 13, 2014 at 5:03 PM

    Just a lousy series….. Better luck Next time…

    Hope we crush the Fish…

    Few positives though…

    1. Bryce is seeing and hitting the ball much better… Plate discipline has improved…
    2. Kevin F did not look overmatched in RF… So, so, so glad that Rizzo signed him… I had made another comment on another board that this was probably the best signing, for me, this past off-season….
    3. Treinan’s debut was nice…
    4. I liked Souza Jr in The Of… Thought the throw to Desi was on point…

    Won’t go into all the negatives…. It’s purposeless but I do believe losing the first one the way we did, set the tone… Lord. I hope that our pitchers never have 3 straight days of horribleness like we just experienced..

    • manassasnatsfan - Apr 13, 2014 at 5:18 PM

      Kevin F not over matched in left field either (I know you meant that)

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 13, 2014 at 5:19 PM

        Lol… Yeah, totally meant LF… Need that edit button…

    • Eric - Apr 13, 2014 at 5:18 PM

      I agree re: Frandsen. For some utterly baseless, subjective reason I felt that was a critical signing…really glad to see the early returns are positive.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 13, 2014 at 5:22 PM

        I was very hurt watching TyMo and Lombo playing last year… And Chad ‘ugh’ Tracy…..

  11. sjm308 - Apr 13, 2014 at 5:04 PM

    Hate to harp on negatives after this series but how many errors does this team have now?
    That was one of my biggest complaints last year and I honestly thought MW would work to get that fixed. Maybe he did work on it but I am pretty sure Desmond has 5 errors in 12 games and what the hell happened on the underhand toss from Gio? LaRoche had to be expecting it and it didn’t look that difficult.

    Grrrrr. OK – I am going through an awful lot of hats in a very short time. This has to end, NOW.

    Go Nats!!

  12. Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 13, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    9 errors…. 5 by Desi… Goodness, that valued D was sorely missed…

  13. manassasnatsfan - Apr 13, 2014 at 5:16 PM

    So far 3 replays today. Houston challenged a safe call. I overturned it’ so did New York. Miami catcher illegally block plate. I would overturn call new York didnt. Reds safe at first Tampa challenged. New York didn’t overturn it. I didn’t either.

    So I believe New York got 2 of 3 right.

  14. David Proctor - Apr 13, 2014 at 5:17 PM

    The only positive I can take from this series is that Harper is looking good. We need him to step up with Zim out.

    Everything else, big thumbs down.

    • manassasnatsfan - Apr 13, 2014 at 5:20 PM

      Rookie pitcher fine last night. 31 hits in 3 games gets you at least 1 win.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 13, 2014 at 5:21 PM

      Frandsen and McClouth have to be positives.. I mean think of the bench production last year….

      I don’t even want to think about it…

  15. Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 13, 2014 at 5:23 PM

    Gotta have a short memory….. Good thing there is much more baseball left…

    • Eugene in Oregon - Apr 13, 2014 at 5:46 PM

      +1

  16. secretwasianman - Apr 13, 2014 at 5:59 PM

    It’s not the braves. It’s any good team we play, this is not a good team. I don’t expect this team to do very well against any plus .500 team this year.

    • David Proctor - Apr 13, 2014 at 6:04 PM

      We haven’t played any other good team this year…it’s impossible to say that.

      • therealjohnc - Apr 13, 2014 at 8:30 PM

        Well, no. It’s impossible to rationally say that. To be a fan is to defy rationality. And particularly in DC we seem prone to the manic/depressive fan syndrome. When the team plays well, they’re going to the World Series! When they hit a bump in the road, well, they’re DOOOOOOOMED.

        Lather, rinse, repeat.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 13, 2014 at 6:07 PM

      Fish had a winning record when we played them… And then we played the braves and mets…

      Not sure you can make that statement…

    • manassasnatsfan - Apr 13, 2014 at 6:13 PM

      You never thought they would get to .500 last year. I assume they will win every game. At least until they lose it.

  17. manassasnatsfan - Apr 13, 2014 at 6:16 PM

    Let’s see Mets in non Nats games 5-4

    Marlins 5-5

    Braves 3-3.

  18. Eric - Apr 13, 2014 at 6:26 PM

    31 hits throughout the series… That’s a huge improvement over last year.

    Just gotta carry that consistency over to RISP situations…

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 13, 2014 at 6:29 PM

      And the pitching has to be much better than it was this weekend….

      • Eric - Apr 13, 2014 at 6:35 PM

        Well….yeah…wow…wtf was up with that?!

  19. David Proctor - Apr 13, 2014 at 6:29 PM

    Xavier Nady just took Ian Krol deep in San Diego. That’s…something.

  20. Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 13, 2014 at 6:29 PM

    No worries Nats fans.. We weren’t the only team who got blown out today…

    The O’s, the Mets, the Rays…

    It happens….

  21. knoxvillenat - Apr 13, 2014 at 6:30 PM

    “….who have perhaps gotten into their heads……”

    You better belief they have. Look at the body language, look at the unforced errors…..yes the Barves have darn well gotten into the collective heads of the Nats. As Pedro Martinez might say, ” they are my daddy”.

  22. Doc - Apr 13, 2014 at 6:30 PM

    So where’s all the improved fielding that Matty was going to usher in?????

  23. rabbit433 - Apr 13, 2014 at 6:32 PM

    We should have one hell of a great record at the end of the year! So what if all of your yearly losses are against the Braves! The rest of the league can beat them, so what if we can’t! GO NATIONALS!!

  24. Sonny G 10 - Apr 13, 2014 at 6:35 PM

    What a bummer of a week-end. Took the starch right out of me. I hope the team fares better.

  25. Natsfool - Apr 13, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    Let’s face it, while the season’s early, the team is basically done. We could slip into a wild card, but unlikely. Where did the makeup of this team go astray? I have to go back to the Stras shutdown. If we had him for game 5, there was a much higher likelihood we would have won, which would have turned the psychology around. At this point, we need to play out the string and trade some older talent for prospects. We are reaching our cap and we need more cost controlled players. Rizzo needs to be fired, and we need to copy the player development structure and other aspects of the Cards. I can see holding off on these changes until after this year, but really we should have started after last year. I can’t respect the players on this team, which makes it hard to watch.

    • therealjohnc - Apr 13, 2014 at 8:31 PM

      This is satire, right?

    • scmargenau - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:39 AM

      Possibly the dumbest comment I’ve ever read.

      Scares me that u might be right.

    • unkyd59 - Apr 14, 2014 at 2:37 PM

      Well named, natsfool… Well named…

  26. Joe Seamhead - Apr 13, 2014 at 7:08 PM

    You all seem to be easy to please regarding the kid. Harper is hitting better, but on the bases he has been a clown, bro.How many times did he run himself off the bases in this series? Not too mention he hasn’t looked exactly like prime time in the outfield, either.Look, Harper is not a rookie that should have a lot of slack cut for him anymore. Certainly no one is arguing that he is on the same overall level as Trout right now.

    Incidentally, Denard Span doesn’t just play his position when he is in centerfield, he makes both of the other guys better with the ground that he covers. For example Josh Willingham actually had a positive UZR the year he played next to Span for the Twins. [not that I generally put much stock in UZR, but it does help me make my point. LOL].

    I am still excited about the new blood that our new manager brings to the club. I was a huge Davey supporter, but even to my far from impartial viewpoint it was time for him to go. As a lifetime Senators/Nats fan I will always be indebted to Davey for the 2012 Division championship, but his time was up. Like everybody else I am impressed with Matt Williams’ overall approach to leading this club. Now he has been a series of blows. Rizzo has done what appears to be a good job of being prepared with contingency plans.One move though, if asked a year ago what young outfielder would be on the cusp of being moved up, I didn’t hear the name of Steven Souza mentioned. Most folks thought that Brian Goodwin would the one to be about ready. He seems to just be treading water with regards to his advancement.

    This team needs to find its swagger, and the sooner the better. Let’s hope there’s a fish fry on their agenda.

  27. JamesFan - Apr 13, 2014 at 8:10 PM

    I don’t think Williams/McCatty managed the pitching well. They jerked the pitching schedule around so when the Nats got to Atlanta, they faced the Braves’ ace. The Braves got the Nats’ four and five starters. The first one hadn’t pitched in 7 days. Why move Harper to center? Why is he not stabilized in his position in left. They had other options in center. Then there is the sloppy fielding and incredibly bad base running. Is that the new aggressive Nats? Hope not. This series was a disaster and hard to watch.

  28. kirbs3256 - Apr 13, 2014 at 9:39 PM

    The best thing about today…gio pulled it together well enough to let the pen get some rest. I assume after some yelling the baserunning nonsence will be fixed.

  29. natsfan1a - Apr 16, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    test

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