WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – The Washington Nationals trail the Braves by a game and a half in the NL East 14 games into the 2014 MLB season, a team who has their best by a 5-1 edge in head-to-head matchups.
Mostly, those games have been close, with three (including the Nationals sole victory) being decided by one run.
Certainly, a 6-game sample is by no means large enough to cause alarm, but when you combine the results with those from their head-to-head matchups in 2013 – which saw the Braves win the division, and the Nationals watching from home – Atlanta leads the Nats 18 games to 7, by a run differential of 40.
You gotta figure, at some point, that begins to weigh heavy on the players on the losing end.
“I do think it’s early,” manager Matt Williams (only responsible for the 2014 stretch) reminded the Junkies on Wednesday. “And we have a lot more meetings with those guys this year.”
“It’s tough because you play other teams, you feel good about other teams, and then all of a sudden nothing works when you play one particular team,” Williams said when asked if he’d ever experienced anything like the Braves recent dominance over the Nationals in his career.
Of their most recent series — which the Nats lost 7-6, 6-3 and 10-2 consecutively — Williams said, “We played the first game, we had a chance to win that game, and then it didn’t happen for us, and then the next two, they dominated.”
Also consider the Nationals won three straight games prior to their first series with the Braves, and the next three after, which led into their next series with the Braves, in which they were swept, followed immediately by another win over the Marlins.
It’s as though any momentum they have is immediately put on hiatus for Atlanta, then picked back up afterward.
“And that’s gonna happen over the course of a series and over the course of a season sometimes,” Williams said. “But we got a lot more games against them. I know that. And we have a chance to even that up, and figure out how to beat those guys, and I think we will.”
The Nationals have 13 games remaining against the Braves this season.