A bumpy first week

Despite the fact that the Nationals picked up a sweep of the Mets on the road earlier this week, it sure hasn’t been the smoothest start to the season for Matt Williams’ ballclub.

Doug Fister is on the disabled list with a strained right lat, and while he’s slowly progressing, the right-hander is still a ways away from sliding back into the Nats rotation.

Wilson Ramos played just seven innings on opening day before fracturing the hamate bone in his left hand, and the Nats will be without their power-hitting catcher for at least the next month.

Ryan Zimmerman now is the latest to visit the team doctor, this after feeling pain in his surgically repaired right shoulder during last night’s game. Zimmerman’s throws across the diamond during warmups and games have lacked the strength that he showed down the stretch last season, and now his status is unclear as the Nats wait on results of an MRI on the third baseman’s shoulder.

If Zimmerman is out for any extended period, that means three guys who were expected to be major contributors to this Nationals team will be out of action.

harper frustrated road sidebar.jpgBryce Harper isn’t hurt, but he is frustrated as heck right now, and admitted last night that he feels “terrible” at the plate and that he’s “pretty lost right now.” Harper is just 3-for-21 with 10 strikeouts to begin the season, and he’s still without an extra-base hit or an RBI.

The Nats have lost two straight games to the Braves, making them 6-15 against Atlanta since the start of last season.

Of those 21 games against their top division rivals since the 2013 season began, 11 have been at Nats Park. The Braves have won nine of those 11.

Yes, the Nats are just five games into the season, and yes, they’re just three days removed from a happy plane ride back to D.C. after a dominating performance against the Mets in New York. But there is already a little frustration building in the Nats clubhouse.

Most of that stems from the Nats’ inability to get much of anything going against Atlanta, a team that, for now at least, seems to have the Nats’ number.

In those 21 games between the two teams, the Braves have outscored the Nats 81-52. The Nats’ average with runners in scoring position in those contests is .156. Atlanta’s bullpen has been outstanding against the Nats, posting a 1.64 ERA.

These teams will face each other 17 more times, including today, so there’s no need to read too much into what happened last season or what’s gone on these last two days. But the injuries are one factor, and the recurring issues against the Braves are another.

Taylor Jordan gets the ball this afternoon, and the Nats would love a strong performance from him. It’s still incredibly early and there is a lot of baseball ahead of us, but tomorrow’s off-day would certainly be a lot more enjoyable for the guys in that clubhouse if they’re able to salvage the finale of this three-game series.

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