Game #98 The Nationals were the pre-season favorites to win the NL East

The NL East standings on the morning of June 8th

“Once upon a time,” the children’s storybook begins. The difference 6-weeks makes. The Nationals were in 1st place leading into the weekend of the Dream Gala and had momentum until Stephen Strasburg was injured. Strasburg had a very good month of May as he was 4-and-1 with a 2.51 ERA. When Strasburg went down, the Nationals seemed to go down with him. The team was a comfortable 10-games over .500 and now are sitting at 1-game under .500 this morning. The team is 13-and-24 since that point in time at the beginning of June. The Nationals have gone from pre-season NL East favorites to 3rd place under-achievers. Strasburg has to rejoin the ranks of the over-achievers for this team to have any chance. Yes, things look bleak, but there have been teams that have made up larger margins on July 21st in a season.

Winning has to start now — and yes, those are 5-words have been repeated over and over again. Last night’s loss was just another straw that could break the camel’s back. The games are getting X’d off the schedule and time is running out.

Weather permitting, Gio Gonzalez will get his chance in a battle of lefies. The Braves send Sean Newcomb to the mound, and the Nationals are almost in a must-win situation to get back to .500. Newcomb has been struggling and while Gio had a June to forget, his July has shown some promise.

The weather looks bleak with rain forecasted through late evening. There is no telling what the Nationals will do on calling the game. The weather models for tomorrow looks a little more promising, but there are a chance for scattered thunderstorms for most of the afternoon.

As the weather looks questionable, it mirrors the Nationals season. Those weren’t thunder boomers you heard yesterday in the 5th inning, that was Max Scherzer and Strasburg having a family squabble. Heat rises — and sometimes to a boiling point. While cooler heads prevail, there is nothing like winning to make everything right.

Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals
Stadium:  Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 7:05 pm EDT
TV:  MASN2; MLB.TV app out-of-network
Nats Radio: 106.7 The Fan and via the MLB app

Line-ups subject to change without notice

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