Continued from page 1

“Great games, and they’ve come out on the winning side of it more than we’d like,” Rizzo said, as quoted by NatsInsider.com. “But we feel confident against this team. We feel we’re better than this team. We respect them and we respect their organization. But we don’t fear them. We think we’re the better team, and at the end of the day, we’re going to come out on top.”

Admirable attitude, if a little misguided. Atlanta is the defending NL East champion and has won 18 of the past 25 games against Washington, including five of six this season. Think it, but maybe don’t actually say it until you win a series from them at the least.

Hmmmm. Maybe that’s it — the Curse of the Braves. Years back, when the Nats weren’t very good, they generally did very well against Atlanta. Now that they are quite good, the Nationals can’t seem to beat the Braves at all. They can deny the Braves are in their heads. The results say otherwise. The Nats play like Little Leaguers a lot of the time against Atlanta and I owe many Little Leaguers an apology for that analogy. Baserunning mistakes they don’t normally make, fielding mistakes they don’t normally make. It all adds up to a team being in their heads.

But, hey, it’s early.