This weekend’s series between the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves brings with it a little bit of drama. Last time these two teams met, it left the Nationals feeling a little sore both figuratively and literally.
Last week, the Nationals had an opportunity to reduce the Braves’ lead when they had a three game series against them in D.C. The Nationals spoiled the chance in a really bad way – they got swept out of their own ball park.
The sweep was an ugly one for a Nationals team that, at that point, was looking for a spark of excitement and offense from someone, anyone. The Nats were outscored 11-6 and out-hit 31-19. While it may look lopsided on the outside, the Nationals lost two games by just one run and game three was given up by the bullpen when the Braves put up three runs in the eighth inning.
This weekend, a Washington sweep, while it may not help their playoff hopes that much, will certainly quiet some of there critics and give them a boost. It would be the perfect payback after the way the Braves swept them while they were in D.C.
Probably the more exciting thing to watch in this weekend’s series is what goes on between Bryce Harper and, well, the Braves pitching staff. Back on August 6, Braves’ pitcher Julio Teheran beaned Harper after he hit a home run off of him. Harper then shouted at Teheran as he walked to first, benches and bullpens cleared, but order was restored before people got ejected.
After the game that night, manager Davey Johnson told reporters the beaning was something they would file away “for future reference.” While retaliation may be risky and could cause a big mess on the diamond, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of games the Nationals pitchers play with Atlanta hitters.
It’s a grudge-match rematch and the Nationals are looking to continue their recent success after sweeping the Philadelphia Phillies and winning four of their past five games. They roll into Atlanta to begin what will be a 10-game road trip.