Since the Nationals came to town in 2005, they've consistently fared poorly in American League ballparks. They'd won just five road interleague series before this season, and last year, they went 0-9 in games in American League parks.
Their series win over the White Sox this weekend certainly doesn't mean they've turned a corner in interleague play - they did go to New York and take two of three from the eventual world champion Yankees in 2009, remember? - but when it's stacked on the top of the way they've been playing lately, it's certainly another reason for fans to be optimistic.
The Nationals are two games over .500 heading into their final road series of the first half. They're 3 1/2 games back of the Braves for the National League Wild Card, and after they play three games in Anaheim against the Angels this week, they'll return to Nationals Park, where they've got the fourth-best home winning percentage in the National League. They've got an 11-game homestand with Pittsburgh (39-38), the Cubs (31-46) and Colorado (38-39) to finish the first half, and if they can walk away from this interleague road trip with a split, they'll have a great chance to push themselves a handful of games above .500 before the All-Star break.
Winning an interleague series on the West Coast, of course, will be the sternest test of whether the Nationals are ready to consistently play better on the road and in interleague games. They took four out of seven from San Francisco and San Diego last month, and in the Angels, they'll face a team that has struggled to find its way this season. Hopefully it'll be as interesting as the last time they were in Anaheim (remember the Frank Robinson/Mike Scioscia/Brendan Donnelly pine tar incident in 2005?).