A disastrous start to the finale of a disastrous series (Nats swept by Braves)

This series has gone from bad to worse.

After dropping the first two games of this three-game set against the rival Braves, each by two runs, the Nationals find themselves in a monster hole through 2 1/2 innings this afternoon.

They trail 7-0 in the third inning.

Gio Gonzalez has gotten smacked all over Nats Park by Braves hitters, allowing two homers and four extra-base hits overall.

The Braves brought in three runs in the first inning and put up another crooked number in the third, with home runs from Justin Upton (solo shot) and Andrelton Simmons (three-run blast) making it a four-run frame.

Gonzalez, who has been visibly frustrated with himself on the mound this afternoon, is already at 74 pitches through three. He’s walked three Atlanta hitters and has missed his spots with his curve on a consistent basis.

The Braves are absolutely on fire right now, having gone 10-1 to open the season. Their pitching has been fantastic, they’ve smoked the ball - with Upton’s seven homers leading the way - and have played sound defense.

The Nats, on the other hand, have played sloppily. Ryan Zimmerman committed his third throwing error in this series in the third inning, sending a throw to first base up the line and allowing Ramiro Pena to reach.

Good thing a three-game set with the lowly Marlins awaits the Nats after this horrific series is over with.

Update: Second baseman Danny Espinosa has been replaced by Steve Lombardozzi after four innings, and you have to think this is related to Espinosa getting drilled on the right hand by a Paul Maholm pitch in the second inning.

Espinosa was tended to by trainer Lee Kuntz after making a slow walk down to first base, but he stayed in the game. After two more innings and with Espinosa due up leading off the bottom of the fifth, manager Davey Johnson went to Lombardozzi.

We’ll check on Espinosa after the game.

Update II: Zach Duke allowed two runs in the sixth, and it’s now 9-0 Braves.


The Nationals just announced that Espinosa left the game with a sore right hand. Not much news there; Espinosa got hit on the hand by an 88 mph fastball. It’d be reasonable to assume the hand is now sore. We’ll wait for word on how severe the injury is.

Update III: This one, mercifully, is done. The Nats lose to the Braves 9-0, giving Atlanta the three-game sweep.

The Nationals got outplayed this series, no question about it. The positive news is they have 16 more against the Braves still in front of them.

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