I can’t remember a series this early in the Major League Baseball season that has generated as much buzz as the upcoming series between the Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves. The Braves are off to a hot start and have control of the National League Eastern division going into the series. That doesn’t really bother the Nationals. New Nationals pitcher Dan Haren said it this way on the Nationals official website:
“The Nationals already sent their message last year. They have to come knock us off.”
Those are strong but true words from Haren. That isn’t to say they are overlooking the Braves at all. Haren went on to say:
“With that said, they got off to a great start. It looks like they are playing really confidently. We are not going to take them for granted by any means.”
All things considered, it looks like the Nationals think they can take the series both now and over the course of the season. I think they are supposed to think that but it’s hard to argue with them. After all they have proven at least short time dominance over the division. No one has been able to knock them off over the course of the season yet. Also, nobody knows better than the Braves how good it feels to win consecutive division titles. The Nationals have no plans to stop now.
As far as things on the field go, the Braves are playing a little hurt without Freddie Freeman which is a loss for the powerful offense but not one that cripples them. The Nationals meanwhile are hitting on all cylinders going into the three game set and probably all around are considered the favorites to win at least two out of three.
That seems like a good prediction to me. There could be two wildcards that the Nationals will need to deal with to make it come true however. They need to keep runners off base so that any Braves homers are of the solo variety. The second thing is that they need to understand they are facing statistically the best pitching staff in the major leagues right now in the Braves, who have a team ERA under 2.00.
It’s going to be a good series, or at least it appears that it should be. Home field and having all of their big bats healthy will definitely give the Nats the edge. Whether or not that translates to a W on the field is completely up for grabs.