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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Junkies: 'Crazy' to get worked up over Nats' losing streak

Chris Lingebach
April 09, 2018 - 5:00 pm

Everything seemed so right about the Nationals after a 4-0 start to the season. Until of course they dropped their next five games.

The Nats were swept by the NL East rival Mets over the weekend, culminating with a 6-5 loss in 12 innings that was nationally televised on ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball."

The Sports Junkies insist there's no reason to panic, but even still, Eric Bickel is overcome with an "uncomfortable feeling."

"I am starting to get a little, like, uncomfortable feeling," he said Monday. "It was weird, because they started out so great. They started out 4-0, you're just feeling unbelievable. You're thinking, 'What are they gonna win? They gonna win 95 games this year?' And then they go on a little swoon."

"Now, it's crazy to get worked up nine games into the season," he said. "But it's a little alarming when they haven't lost five straight in a few years. I don't believe they've been below. 500 since like 2015. So, even though it's whatever. They're 4-5. I mean, it doesn't matter. There's just a little uncomfortable feeling about it."

The Nats on Monday begin a three-game home series against the Braves, against whom they were 1-2 last week in Atlanta, the series which started their five-game slide. They now find themselves in third place looking up at the 6-3 Braves and 7-1 Mets, an uncomfortable position for a team that's won the division four out of the last six seasons.

Bish: Now with this little five-game swoon with the Nats, going back to the 13-6 loss in Atlanta last Tuesday. Remember, that was the game A.J. Cole started and gave up a billion runs.

EB: He started this whole thing. By the way, it's interesting that they're skipping his start.

Bish: Well, who would you rather have, Max (Scherzer) or A.J. Cole? 

Cakes: I think you'd rather have Max take the mound tonight.

The Nats haven't looked themselves in a week. In the last three games alone, shortstop Trea Turner, third baseman Anthony Rendon and first-year manager Davey Martinez have all been ejected. Bryce Harper, who's hitting .357 with 12 RBI and leads the Majors with six homers, has remained a stabilizing force in the lineup.

Bish: Harper has been the one bright spot because he's got six dingers!

EB: Well, they've got a few bright spots, just hitting-wise. I mean, Rendon's hitting .289, Howie Kendrick's hitting .344, Adam Eaton's hitting .345, Bryce is hitting .357 with the six bombs. After that, it falls off a little bit. So they're hitting the ball fine and just wait until they get Daniel Murphy. It'll be even better.

Bish: Well, they were hitting the ball OK, but they couldn't get a key hit in any of those three games, because they lost 7-1, 8-2 and 3-2. They had situations and opportunities where they could have gotten a big hit and they just didn't come up with anything. So guys are getting on base, but they're not getting the big hit, besides Harper.

"I would be more concerned that the Mets look legit than how bad the Nats have played in this five-game stretch," Jason Bishop said. "I think the Mets have something to prove from last year, so I think this is more indicative of what the Mets can do this year than the start that the Nats have had. Because the Mets had a disappointing year last year because of all the injuries on the mound."

"But they feel like -- they talked about it -- they feel like they can match up with the Nats as well as anybody if they're healthy," he said. "And they might be right."

"The fifth starter position and kind of the middle of the bullpen, those were the two concerns that people had for this team," Eric Bickel said. "No team is perfect. Every team is gonna have an issue or two here or there, we're just being kind of picky, but at the end of the day, there's just too much talent for them to continue at this level."

Bish: I was just kind of going through the schedule from last year. I believe they were only swept once at home last year, and I think it was Texas.

EB: Yeah. They definitely didn't lose five in a row last year. It's been a while.

Bish: Right. And I think they were only swept once at home.

Cakes: And I think it's the Mets' first sweep of the Nats here in D.C. in like 10 years. 

EB: Apparently Dave Martinez addressed the team afterwards, and if you're a player, you've got to love it. He just said, 'Listen. Nothing to hang your head about here. When we break out of this, this is is gonna be awesome.' So he's staying super positive.

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