Sorry, Washington Nationals, but the Atlanta Braves own you in this rivalry. You can have all of the media attention and hype you want before the season, because when the season actually starts, the Braves have no problem beating you. A 10-2 win today proved this point even further after Atlanta took care of business in order to get the sweep over Washington at Turner Field.
The victory meant that the Braves have now won 5-of-6 this year, and 22 of the last 29 games against the Nationals. That, my friends, is what we call pure domination over an opponent. Atlanta might struggle when they face other teams, but for some reason, whenever Washington comes up on the schedule, everyone turns up their game a notch. Even Aaron Harang, who was just brought in and is new to the rivalry, brought his best to the mound today.
Harang pitched for six innings, giving up five hits, one run, zero walks and struck out five batters in an impressive performance to help guide Atlanta to the win. If the 35 year old continues to pitch as well as he has lately, it will be hard for manager Fredi Gonzalez to replace him. Gonzalez might have to find someone else to take a seat on the bench when Mike Minor and Gavin Floyd return, because his 0.96 ERA is only second on the team behind the other great signing GM Frank Wren made in Ervin Santana.
However, as great as Harang was, the Braves should thank the Nationals for allowing them to find their bats again. The offense really turned things around after a slow start to the season, and a big part of that has to deal with the emergence of Justin Upton. He went off against Washington this series. Upton launched his first four home runs of the year and finished with eight RBIs to complete the sweep of the Nationals.