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The Nationals are under .500 for the first time since 2011

Apr 24, 2013, 6:03 PM EDT

Cardinals' Molina hits a two-run RBI single off Nationals' Strasburg in the first inning of their MLB National League baseball game in Washington Reuters

The Cardinals completed a three-game sweep in D.C. by winning 4-2 on Wednesday, dropping the Nationals to 10-11 on the young season.

It’s the first time the popular NL pennant pick has been below .500 since finishing the 2011 season with an 80-81 record. Last year, the Nats were over .500 after every game but one (they started the season 2-2).

Minus Ryan Zimmerman, the Nationals scored just four runs in the three games against the Cardinals. One of those runs was scored by Stephen Strasburg today after his sixth-inning single, but that was the only run the Nationals amassed while he was in the contest. Strasburg dropped to 1-4 due to the lack of help.

It was the 10th time in their 21 games that the Nationals have scored two runs or fewer. Only the Marlins, with 13, have more such games. The Mariners, Padres and Phillies also have 10 apiece.

In comparison, the Yankees and Mets have just three such games.

Especially since the pitching staff is still healthy, it’s far too early for Nationals fans to panic. Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez haven’t been as dominant as hoped, but there aren’t any big warning signs there and both Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler have looked very good. Even if Dan Haren proves to be a lost cause, that’s something they can overcome once the offense gets going. And the offense is too good not to get going before much longer.

  1. yahmule - Apr 24, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    Is it safe to panic yet?

    • geshtahl - Apr 24, 2013 at 8:30 PM

      You should talk to your doctor to see if your heart is healthy enough for panicky activity.

    • jdouble777 - Apr 24, 2013 at 11:00 PM

      Yes. It is REALLY annoying that these writers refuse to relent on their absurd expectations. We are who we are, if we end up better than who we are please afford credit. Why must every single game, series, half end up with an NL East leading woah instilling performance? Remember when the Phillies were destined to be untouchable for at least the length of Roy’s contract? Just leave us alone, when that happens…what your expectations consist tend to happen. Fame, headlines, and a cool nickname or nation is at the very bottom of the totem pole for this team and it’s fans.

      • badintent - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:35 AM

        Not to worry, these same writers told us about the Yankees Gloom and Doom for 2 weeks straight before the season started.Last time I looked they had beat up the Jays. The Jays that were supposed to dominate the division

      • ryanrockzzz - Apr 25, 2013 at 8:38 AM

        That’s what happens when you have everyone focusing on your team for a change. In Philly, that’s exactly how it was when the Phillies were good. Now that they are bad, it’s more just calling for Ruben Amaro Jr to be fired. I said in Feb. it was going to be this kinda year for the Nats. It’s way to early to say if that will hold true, but they aren’t sneaking up on anyone this year. I think once they get Zimmerman back from yet another stint on the DL that’ll certainly help, along with getting in a groove in the next few months.

  2. losangelesfan - Apr 24, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    LOL! That’s awesome. Vengeance des Expos !

  3. ebrownwareagle - Apr 24, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    LOL!!! The same Team that said they were Better than Braves!! Laughable!

    • goodellisruiningtheleague - Apr 24, 2013 at 7:34 PM

      They were better than them last year. LOL remember the infield fly ball in the wild card game when the trashy fans threw beer bottles and everything else on the field?

    • ryanrockzzz - Apr 25, 2013 at 8:40 AM

      Yea, thank god it took the Braves like 8 years or so to figure out how to get good again. This team can look scary good at times.

  4. randygnyc - Apr 24, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    The Nat’s are unimpressive. I said it earlier today, an 87 win team. Just a bit better than average.

    • goodellisruiningtheleague - Apr 24, 2013 at 7:32 PM

      Shoot they’d be lucky to get that far! DC sports teams suck

    • baseballisboring - Apr 24, 2013 at 8:17 PM

      Did you say it before the season started too or are you just saying it now?

      • randygnyc - Apr 24, 2013 at 8:47 PM

        I said at the beginning of the year that the Nat’s pitching staff (both starters and relievers), couldn’t, not wouldn’t, come close to duplicating last years results. The offense, I speculated, would be as it is now.

        But, to be honest, I underestimated the Braves. Pitching will be good, but I didn’t expect their offense to be quite as effective.

      • goodellisruiningtheleague - Apr 24, 2013 at 10:05 PM

        I’ve always thought DC sports aren’t good enough to win a title. Every DC team finds ways to blow it. I mean giving up a 6 run lead and blowing the game in the top of the ninth is pretty impressive.

      • goodellisruiningtheleague - Apr 24, 2013 at 10:08 PM

        Don’t forget the Redskins also blew it in the second half of the game as well letting a qb with a torn acl play as well. The Caps also can’t get passed the first round.

  5. pinkfloydprism - Apr 24, 2013 at 7:34 PM


  6. evanwins - Apr 24, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    Somebody tell Strasburg and Espinosa that i’m impressed.

  7. joejaws75 - Apr 24, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    Nats are over rated starting with thier right fielder

  8. bauman007 - Apr 24, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    Said it last year, they were so sure getting to the playoffs were a sure thing they didn’t go all I’m with Strasburg #firerizzo

  9. thebadguyswon - Apr 24, 2013 at 8:34 PM


  10. Carl Hancock - Apr 24, 2013 at 8:37 PM

    An 87 win team? The Cardinals won the 2006 World Series with an 83 win team and the 2011 Cardinals won the World Series with a 86 win season. That being said the Nats aren’t the Cardinals. As we just saw.

    • randygnyc - Apr 24, 2013 at 8:50 PM

      I don’t have a crystal ball, but this year I have a feeling that 87 wins won’t get into the playoffs in either league (maybe the AL West)

  11. baseballisboring - Apr 24, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    2013 and people still don’t understand SSS…

    • baseballisboring - Apr 24, 2013 at 10:01 PM

      Rockies are in first place, btw.

  12. Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Apr 24, 2013 at 10:48 PM

    I thought the site had been lacking the typical number of natslady crowbar jobs. I’m sure she’ll be back to her prolific self once the team starts winning again … which will happen, folks. I’m not going to pop off about Washington’s pathetic start when there are still 140 games left to play.

  13. kinggw - Apr 24, 2013 at 11:05 PM

    Chip Caray’s Eyebrows are spot on. Its April people. They’ve lost series to the Reds, Braves, Cards and Mets. 3 of those teams were playoff teams from last year. If June hits and they are still hovering around the .500 mark, there may be cause for concern.

    • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Apr 25, 2013 at 7:36 AM

      Don’t get me wrong … I hope they lose half (or more) of their games all season. I just don’t see it as a realistic hope. More of a fantasy.

    • hisgirlgotburrelled - Apr 25, 2013 at 9:27 AM

      “3 of those teams were playoff teams from last year”

      Half of their wins are against the Marlins and they scored just 9 runs in those 6 losses to Atlanta and St. Louis. You have to have some concern.

      2 4-game series up next vs the Reds and at Atlanta. Good time to turn it around a bit. If they lose 5 of those you can bet there will more articles about them being disappointing.

  14. Alan Luken - Apr 25, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    Amazing that so many people are saying the Nats are terrible when they are only one game under .500 after just 21 games. Still 141 games to go. Sample size.

  15. kicksave1980 - Apr 25, 2013 at 1:07 AM

    Everyone talks about how “it’s early”, which is true, but when you mess around and come up a game or two short at the end of the season, you’ll realize that the games in April are just as important as the games in September.

    • caeser12 - Apr 25, 2013 at 1:50 PM


      The 2011 Braves and Red Sox, can attest to that.

  16. vcupats - Apr 25, 2013 at 6:33 AM

    Washington completed the quickest “mediocre-to-underdog-to-favorite-to-disappointment” cycle in MLB history.

    • natslady - Apr 25, 2013 at 6:54 AM

      Sure seems like it. Still would rather have this team than the 2010 team. Or the 2009 team… etc.

      Nats went 14-8 last spring. Their batting average? .226. Their runs scored? 74.
      This year, after 21 games (11-10). Batting average? .235 Runs scored? 76

      2012 April. Ryan Zimmerman was hurt, Michael Morse was hurt.
      2013 April. Ryan Zimmerman is hurt, Adam LaRoche is hurt/slumping.

      Difference? Obscenely good pitching, worse opponents, and a little bit o’ luck.

  17. natslady - Apr 25, 2013 at 6:57 AM

    Sorry, 10-11.

  18. forsch31 - Apr 25, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    Yes, it’s a long season. But dig a big enough hole, and you make it harder on yourself for the rest of the year.

    Last season, the Angels started finished April with a 8-15 record. They were stronger after that, going 18-11 in May, 17-9 in June, and so on. They had only one additional losing month—August, when they went 13-15. They wound up winning 89 games, finishing third in their division and out of the playoffs, despite the extra wild card berth. That’s what a slow start can do—make the margin of error much smaller, creating a taxing uphill climb to go along with the grind every team goes through.

    The Nationals are at 10-11 in April with 5 games to go, so they’re not doing as bad as the Angels percentage-wise. But they are finishing the month on a downhill swing—two sweeps by Atlanta and St. Louis, sandwiching a series loss against the Not-Quite-Mighty Mets and a win against the Even-Less-Marvelous Marlins. They’ve got a 3-game series against the Reds, followed by a 4-game series against their division rivals the Braves. The danger here is that the Nationals continue to slide, and wind up digging a hole bigger than the Angels dug last year.

    The good news is the NL East appears to be pretty weak this year, with the Nationals sitting in third place, just outside of second, despite a slight losing record (they’d be in fifth in the NL Central and in fourth in the NL West). The bad news is that they have to win the division, and the Braves appear to be good enough to build a great record while also feasting on that apparently weak division.

    The Angels were able to stay in the division race in 2012 because the AL West was pretty balanced: three teams above .500, with the fourth hovering near that mark for most of the season. The NL East doesn’t have the same prospect this season.

  19. cktai - Apr 26, 2013 at 4:08 AM

    Tigers and A’s were under .500 until early July.
    Dodgers were 42-25 in mid June.

    It’d probably too early to say anyone is dead and buried just yet.

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