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Atlanta swept Washington in the first meeting of the year.
Despite Atlanta's winter acquisitions, the majority of preseason predictions had the Nationals repeating as division winners in 2013.
In fact, one particular poll shows that 38-of-43 ESPN "experts" picked Washington to win the NL East again. Only five brave souls went out on the proverbial limb to select Atlanta to take the division title.
To be fair, 27 of those experts tabbed the Braves as one of the two NL wild cards, and four panelists believed Atlanta would reach the World Series.
However, six of those ESPN experts had the Braves missing the postseason altogether, while exactly zero believed Atlanta would win the World Series. That is not exactly a glowing endorsement from the "Worldwide Leader."
On the contrary, a staggering 29 of those ESPN experts placed Washington in the World Series, and 16 had them winning it all.
A similar poll done by CBS Sports had their six experts all picking the Nationals as NL Champion, with four selecting Washington as the eventual World Series winner.
Yahoo! Sports? Same story. All four experts went with the Nationals to win the division and three had Washington winning the World Series.
I could continue with exercise, but I believe the point has been sufficiently made and a common thread has been established.
Everyone, including the Nationals, expects to win it all. Manager Davey Johnson, who is in his final season at the helm of the club, has declared this season's slogan as "World Series or bust!"
Regardless of Johnson's motto or Washington's plans, Atlanta's 15-6 start has announced that last season's runner up is not interested in simply settling for a wild-card entry into the playoffs.
The Braves swept the first three-game series between the two clubs while in the midst of a 10-game winning streak. Third place Washington stands five games out, with a 10-11 record as of April 24.
Yes, it is still very early in the season. These two clubs have 15 more meetings, including a four-game series at Turner Field which closes out the month of April and opens up May.
Battle lines are drawn and only time will tell who takes the coveted division crown.