The Atlanta Braves fought for a crucial 3-2 victory over the Washington Nationals Sunday afternoon. It pulled them back to within two games of the NL East lead, but it also helped to ease the Braves’ woes in recent years against Washington.
It’s been one of the weirder and more frustrating annual traditions of Braves Baseball. The Nationals have never really been good, but every time they’re on the schedule, Braves fans get a little worried.
The Nats have our number, plain and simple.
Now, Washington is a better baseball team, continuing to improve as their young roster starts to get major-league experience. If the Braves had their hands full with the Nationals before, trends would suggest it’s not going to get any prettier for Atlanta.
Here’s a look at the Braves’ record against the Nationals, season-by-season, over the last five years:
Prior to Sunday’s victory, the Braves had lost six consecutive games against Washington, dating back to the 2011 season. They were losing at Turner Field, and they were losing at Nationals Park. One win doesn’t cure everything, but it is a step in the right direction.
Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez are going to be a dominant 1-2 punch in Washington’s rotation, and the Braves got a taste of both this weekend. Runs came at a premium, as expected, but the teams split the series, with the first game of the three-game series washed out by rain.
It’s a positive sign, but the continued success of the young Nationals will only lead to more headaches in the division for the Braves.