You can only win the games put in front of you. That's what they say. Unfortunately for us wanting to make early season pronouncements, after today the Nats may have played 75% of this young season against the worst team in the major leagues. Of course maybe the Braves have played 75% of their young season against the best team in the major leagues? Maybe?
It's always tough early season when you might play the same team 6 to 9 times in a short period of time. Is it us, or is it them? The Braves rank 14th out of 15 NL teams in RS and 14th out of 15 NL teams in RA. They can't hit and they don't seem to pitch particularly well either. If this were a surprise you might lean toward the "Nats are really good" line of thinking. But it isn't. Everyone knew the Braves were tanking and could be really bad. Here we are.
So there isn't much to learn from these games, I'm afraid. I suppose you can pull out unexpectedly disappointing early season performances (Scherzer, Taylor) and worry about those but I'm inclined just to throw everything out. All you can take away from playing a team this bad is that you should beat them like a drum. The Nats have played 5 games versus the Braves. They have won all 5. You can't do any better.
Today's game is a freebee. They don't want to lose it of course, but they already have the commanding home series 3-1 win they wanted. A loss today would be unfortunate but nothing more. Then we can finally move on to playing some different teams and start to pull some actual conclusions from what we are seeing. Maybe. Of course no one thinks much of Philly or Miami either and the interleague opponent waiting for them? Minnesota, who currently stands at 0-8 themselves with easily the worst offense in baseball.
I wanted the Nats at no worse than 13-9 come that end of April road trip against teams people think are actually good. I think that has to be amended. First - there's a game lost to rain. (13-8?) Second going 7-7 from here on out? Versus PHI MIA and MIN? I can't think that's ok. No. Now factoring in the "Braves are awful" adjustment. I set the target at 15-6 at the end of April 28th. Is that fair? Maybe not. We can discuss changing it back if the Braves actually win a couple games.