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Mike Rizzo says the Nationals are better than the Braves

Apr 14, 2014, 8:56 AM EST

Mike Rizzo Getty Images

I have no idea what the Nationals’ obsession is with saying they’re better than the Braves while getting their butts handed to them in mid-April series, but they’ve gone and done it again.

Last year the Braves swept the Nats in a three-game series that took place April 12-14. In between games two and three of that series, Danny Espinosa and Stephen Strasburg both said that they weren’t impressed with Atlanta and that, in their opinion, the Nats are better than the Braves.

Flash forward exactly one year, between games two and three of a Nats-Braves series and here’s Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo:

So of course the Braves won yesterday to sweep the Nats once again.

Over the past two seasons Atlanta is 18-7 against the Nationals and won the division over them by ten games last year. One would think that, eventually, someone on that club might at least be open to the possibility that they’re not quite as superior as they fancy themselves.

  1. chill1184 - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:00 AM

    Thats a nice target Rizzo is putting on his teams back

  2. renaado - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    LoL… Now I’m mad!! Rizzo, You must fear the “T-Chop”! Braves all the way baby! Braves will show yo the boss Mike!

    • voteforno6 - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:05 AM

      Yeah, they’re already down by one game with 150 to go. There’s no way they can recover from that.

      • renaado - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:15 AM

        Yeah, I can definitely understand the (“cough..” sarcasm) statement though, so there’s no need of remindin.

    • aresachaela - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:20 AM

      HAHAHA XD! Look at the bright side Ren! The Braves just swept the Nationals today so it’s fine lol!

  3. Kevin S. - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:03 AM

    The Braves’ early-season success against the Nats isn’t exactly *strong* evidence against the Nats being the better team… but I still wouldn’t be running my mouth about it.

  4. goodellisruiningtheleague - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    LOL scoreboard Rizzo

    Braves own the nationals

    • babyfarkmcgeezax - Apr 14, 2014 at 12:38 PM

      False. Ted Lerner owns the Nationals.

  5. jjohnb5393 - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:07 AM

    Braves are a better run organization, I can tell u that for sure….

    • voteforno6 - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:10 AM

      Oh really? Based on what? What special insights do you have as to the internal workings of both organizations?

      • renaado - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:45 AM

        Do you really need to have proof on what your comparing or referring at? Perceiving the situation alone is good enough on understanding the current situation as of now.. And it’s very clear jjohnb5393 statements are clearly facts, not just based on performance alone.

      • voteforno6 - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:01 AM

        So, what you’re saying is that one’s perception of a given situation is sufficient? Okay, well, my perception is that, unless his name is Stan Kasten, he has no idea what he’s talking about. And, my perception is also that your ongoing war with the English language is going very poorly for you.

      • renaado - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:07 AM

        Yes yes, my Filipino language skills and English language skills are really on a war right now if only I can find a translating machine for this.

      • voteforno6 - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:12 AM

        You’re not a native English speaker? I apologize for my snarky comment, then. I don’t think a translating machine will help you here – you just need more practice. That, and you need to find a new team to root for.

      • renaado - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:41 AM

        Yeah, guess I really need more practice… But there is absolutely no way I’m abandoning a team who helped me gain an interest in Baseball.

  6. greymares - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:08 AM

    so are the Phillies, Marlins and Mets what’s the big deal ?

  7. realgone2 - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    Smoking the same stuff the old DC mayor was?

    • Francisco (FC) - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:17 AM

      At this point I think they’re smoking whatever Rob Ford is smoking these days.

  8. goskinsvt - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:12 AM

    With only 150 games left, how will they ever be able to recover being 1 game back!?!?! The task seems monumental.

    • chc4 - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:26 AM

      Is that really the point? GM’s aren’t supposed to be the ones making headlines unless it’s because of a big trade. Rizzo needs to keep his mouth shut and let his players play.

  9. nbjays - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    Give Rizzo and his players a break. Everyone knows delusion reigns in Washington, DC.

  10. DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    Sure, if you want to use that archaic stats of TEAM WINS, then I suppose the Barve could argue they are better. But the Nats are clearly better in FwBWAPiBOP. Case closed

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:19 AM

      P.S. – Just re-read that tweet. “We don’t fear them”. Yea….that line always comes back to haunt you in the NL East

      http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/09/05/chipper-jones-on-the-phillies-were-not-scared-of-them/

      • duvisited - Apr 14, 2014 at 3:06 PM

        Eh, I think there’s a difference between “we’re not afraid of Team X and we think we can beat them” and “we’re not afraid of Team X and we think we are better than them.”

    • natstowngreg - Apr 14, 2014 at 1:12 PM

      Wins as a performance metric? That’s sooooo 20th Century.

      But seriously, Mike & Matt & Co., put the Natitude and perceptions of superiority and World Series predictions on hold. Focus on just playing the game right. This past weekend was an embarrassment.

  11. numbskull111 - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    On paper, I would agree the Nats are a better team….on the field however, the Braves are much better.

    The Braves don’t beat themselves, they play together as a team and that allows them to overcome injuries, etc. The Nats don’t (and I’m a Nats fan….I can’t stand the Braves!)

    • voteforno6 - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:07 AM

      I wouldn’t say they’re better on the field, either. They just had a bad weekend. There are a lot of games left in the season, and it’s not like they’re looking at a ten game deficit. The only thing I would question is the way that Matt Williams handled the rotation and maybe the bullpen as well. Roark and Jordan looked like they were a little strong, which can happen with control pitchers with too many off days between starts. It also seems a little early in the season to burn a bullpen like that. I’m not sure it was necessary to send Barrett down just to get another fresh arm in the pen. On the other hand, we did get to take a look at Blake Treinen, which hopefully will finally shut up the people still complaining about the Michael Morse trade.

      • chc4 - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:42 AM

        The 2013 Nats were better on paper too. Braves won the division by 10 games. Sure it’s a different year but the “small sample size” argument doesn’t necessarily apply. The Nats bigger problem is their atrocious fielding and base running. Both are an extension of last season.

        As it relates back to the Braves though, for whatever reason Atlanta owns both Strasburg and Gio. That’s a major issue.

  12. yahmule - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    The guy likes reading his name in the newspaper. Plain and simple.

    • drs76109 - Apr 14, 2014 at 4:04 PM

      Especially since he got mad that Davey Johnson was in the papers more than him last season. So he picked for a manager someone with no experience to compensate for that this season. (advantage Braves, btw – at least Gonzalez has experience)

  13. schmedley69 - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    If they didn’t fear the Braves, then he wouldn’t have had to come out and make a comment like that in the first place. It’s obvious that the Braves are in the Nats head.

  14. rjmarrella - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    “Who the better team is,” gets decided by the winners of the games played against one another. The rest of it is conjecture and unfounded at that.

  15. jmcnick - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    Washington, the On Paper Champions City,
    Redskins, Capitals and Nats watching the Playoffs once again

    • paperlions - Apr 14, 2014 at 12:54 PM

      Hey, now. I’m offended by that!

  16. brandonmauk - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    Come on. Both teams are very good, and this has potential for a good, fun rivalry for years to come.

    • chc4 - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:44 AM

      I don’t think anyone is arguing that point.

  17. lukedunphysscienceproject - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    What Rizzo is doing when he says things like this is what’s known as “whistling through the graveyard”.

  18. 18thstreet - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    Piece of advice: if you’d like to be taken seriously, avoid “LOL” in your posts.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:36 AM

      Piece of advice: respond to the post your are addressing.

      lol

  19. bisonaudit - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    I think until his guys stop running into strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double plays when they’re down by six runs. Rizzo should probably keep these kinds of opinions to himself.

  20. philsphilsphils - Apr 14, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    Let’s revisit this post in a couple of months. Have a feeling Rizzo is right.

  21. xmatt0926x - Apr 14, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    I’m not a fan of either team and I can’t stand Rizzo. He has always come off as that blowhard guy who always has a nasty smirk on his face, looking for trouble. We all know guys like that. That being said I think he’s correct.

    I would take the Nats roster over the Braves. I don’t think the Nats are extremely better but I like them better overall. I couldn’t believe they didn’t win 97-100 games last year and I don’t think there’s any reason they shouldn’t this year as well.

    As far as the head to head record, I understand that it makes it seem that the Braves would be better, but that happens sometimes for whatever reasons. Who knows. The best thing about it is that we will all know one way or the other in a few months.

  22. Joe Vecchio - Apr 14, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    No one doubts that the Nats have talent and enthusiasm. But talent and enthusiasm will only get you so far. You have to play the game the right way. Bad defense and baserunning can be overcome when you’re playing mediocre teams but when you play teams like the Braves or the Cardinals you just can’t make those kinds of mistakes. Because the great teams don’t beat themselves, you have to be better than they are.

    The season is still very early so it would be stupid to hand the division to anyone, but if the Nats want to win it they just have to play better and not assume that talent and enthusiasm is all you need.

    This has been another episode of “Belaboring The Obvious”

  23. dholms - Apr 14, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    Hey. Keep talking.
    I remember thinking to myself at one point during this series:
    ‘Has the Nationals forgotten the rules of baseball?’
    Yo Mr. Rizzo? Is there any way we could add a few more guys with your guys to the schedule?

    Yes.
    The Braves apparently own the Nationals.

  24. dholms - Apr 14, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    Games, that is.

  25. realgone2 - Apr 14, 2014 at 6:13 PM

    I always equate committing over 6 errors in 3 games a good team………………………

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