The Washington Nationals headed to Atlanta this week looking to get even with the division rival Braves. Atlanta embarrassed the Nats earlier this season in a three-game series in Washington, including a 9-0 thumping in the finale.
Washington was on a hot streak as of late heading into the series with Atlanta. Their offense was seemingly back on track, stealing three out of four against the Cincinnati Reds. Bryce Harper was on a tear and the pitching seemed to be on track.
However, the Nationals lost the last game of the series to the Reds and have now dropped three in a row with the last two defeats at the hands of the Braves. Atlanta followed up a 3-2 win on Monday with an 8-1 defeat of the Nats on Tuesday night. With the wins, the Braves extended their lead in the division to 4.5 games.
To add insult to injury, Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg has the fan base on edge once again with concerns for his health. The team said Strasburg experienced tightness in his forearm following Monday’s start, for which he will receive treatment.
Washington has to increase their run support to contend with Atlanta while the pitching staff looks to rebound. Harper has to get going after a 1-for-7 start to the series. The other hitters in the lineup must also step up. Atlanta will score runs, as the team has been batting at a high level to start the year.
Two games remain in the current set, and the Nats need both to decrease Atlanta’s division lead.