Apr 16, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth (28) connects for a three run home run during the sixth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

District Daily: Nationals News 4/17


Apr 16, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth (28) runs the bases after hitting a three run home run during the sixth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Start off your Thursday with some great Washington Nationals articles from around the web:

Souza cherishes long-awaited first MLB hit

(Christina De Nicola and Teddy Cahill, MLB.com)

MIAMI — Despite Tuesday’s loss, there was a bright spot late in the game for the Nationals.

Steven Souza Jr., who replaced Jayson Werth as a defensive substitution in right field in the sixth, singled up the middle off Dan Jennings two innings later for his first Major League hit.

“It’s an exciting moment,” said Souza, who will give the ball to his parents. “I just want to thank Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior for putting me in this position and giving me an opportunity to come out here. It’s an exciting moment for my family.” Read full article here.

Is it ‘Do or Die’ time for the Washington Nationals?

(Matt Krause, The Pendulum)

…After a year of massive disappointment in 2013, the expectations were sky-high for Washington in 2014 with new manager Matt Williams. Nearly the entire roster was healthy for the beginning of the season, and a relatively weak National League East division paved the way for the Nationals to be considered favorites.

Then the season started. So did the injuries.

…All of a sudden, the strong Nationals look vulnerable, and the results have shown it. In six games against the Atlanta Braves this season, the Nationals are 1-5 with three of the five losses coming by three runs or more. One of Washington’s strong points was supposed to be starting pitching. Now, not a single National starting pitcher has an ERA under 3.50. Staff ace Stephen Strasburg, that former once-in-a-lifetime prospect? His ERA is 6.00 with 14 runs surrendered in only 21 innings over four starts. His April 15 start against the Miami Marlins saw him give up six runs in only four innings. The normally reliable Jordan Zimmermann only lasted 1.2 innings in a start against Miami April 9. Gio Gonzalez coughed up six runs over six innings in Atlanta on April 13. Read full article here.

 

Matt Williams Perplexed by Nats-Braves Matchup

(Chris Lingebach, CBS DC)

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) - The Washington Nationals trail the Braves by a game and a half in the NL East 14 games into the 2014 MLB season, a team who has their best by a 5-1 edge in head-to-head matchups.

Mostly, those games have been close, with three (including the Nationals sole victory) being decided by one run.

Certainly, a 6-game sample is by no means large enough to cause alarm, but when you combine the results with those from their head-to-head matchups in 2013 – which saw the Braves win the division, and the Nationals watching from home – Atlanta leads the Nats 18 games to 7, by a run differential of 40.

You gotta figure, at some point, that begins to weigh heavy on the players on the losing end. Read full article here.

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