When the Nationals opened the season against the Braves, they quickly had their spring training momentum dulled by a 2-0 loss to Atlanta. They at least opened the second half by scoring a run on Friday. But that was about all they could take out of their start to the post All-Star break schedule.
They entered the second half with a .500 record, talking about making up eight games on the Braves and giving them a run for the NL wild card spot. Once they got on the field on Friday, they played with absolutely none of that bravado, making a total of five errors - three in the first inning - and taking a humbling 11-1 loss to the Braves.
Livan Hernandez allowed six runs (though only three of them were earned) on eight hits in four innings, and Ross Detwiler gave up three runs in two innings after him. But the biggest pox on the Nationals' night was their defense; their five errors tied a team record, and first baseman Michael Morse made three of them.
The Nationals became the first team to commit five errors twice in a game since the 2007 Marlins. And their 10-run loss was their most lopsided of the season.
And they fell back a game below .500, nine behind the Braves in the NL East. If they want to win the series, they'll have to count on John Lannan and Tom Gorzelanny beating Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens.