People are talking about today as a must-win. I don't know about that, but it doesn't seem like an 0-6 start will help walk-up sales for the opening series at Nationals Park very much.
But look on the bright side. We're no worse than the Indians, who a lot of people thought would win the AL Central. And we're not even one-third of the way to these guys, who some of you probably rooted for.
Check out my preview of the series here for breakdowns on the Atlanta' hitters and bullpen. Here's my look at the Braves' starter for the series finale and prediction.
On the Mound
Jair Jurrjens: The 23-year-old Curacaoan and teammate of Roger Bernadina and Shairon Martis in international competition came came over from the Tigers in the one-sided Edgar Renteria deal. He's a fastball-slider-change up guy with very good groundball rates (51.5% last year) and average strikeout and walk rates (17.1% and 8.6%, respectively).
As is typically the case with guys with this repretoire, he has a big platoon split. Righties hit him like Yuniesky Betancourt in 2008 (85 OPS+), while he turned the average lefty into J.J. Hardy (112 OPS+). The slider is simply a much tougher pitch running away from righties, and the change-up becomes the out pitch against lefties.
Though he's still just 23, he's noted for his advanced maturity and make-up. He threw more innings than the 30-innings jump limit advised by the "Verducci Effect," but barring injury he should again be one of the best 30-40 starters in the NL.
Season record: 4-1
The Nationals score, and Olsen is better (hey, he's terrible, but he's not 24.00 terrible). But not enough. The Scats come home 0-6, dropping this one 7-4.