Postgame analysis of the Nats' 3-0 win over the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday at Nationals Park:
How it happened: Despite their original starter Stephen Strasburg getting scratched due to illness and off-days for Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon, there was no stopping the Nationals on Wednesday night, as they beat the Braves to extend the best start in team history and continue the worst start for Atlanta in 27 years. Both teams are making history these days, but for much different reasons. The Nats were led by starter Tanner Roark, who stepped up in Strasburg's absence to dominate a Braves team he has tormented since he entered the league. On offense it was a pair of homers by Stephen Drew and Jayson Werth in the fourth inning that gave the Nats all the runs they would need in this one. They are now 6-1 on the season and sitting pretty atop an otherwise struggling NL East.
What it means: The Nationals are making things miserable for the Braves so far, as Atlanta searches for their first win of 2016. The Braves are now 0-8, which is their worst start since 1988. The Nats have a chance for their second sweep of the Braves already this season on Thursday as they square off against Opening Day starter Julio Teheran. If the Nats get that one, they will head into Philly on Friday night with considerable momentum and another chance to beat up on a young and less-talented team.
Roark continues to dominate Braves: Roark bounced back nicely from his uneven season debut in the home opener to go seven scoreless innings vs. the Braves, a team he has enjoyed a ton of success against over the years. Manager Dusty Baker actually joked earlier in the day he hoped Roark could pitch a shutout to save his bullpen with Stephen Strasburg, the game's original starter, getting scratched. Roark didn't go the distance, but he got close and gave Baker a good rest for his relievers. Roark allowed four hits and three walks, and he hit one batter and threw a wild pitch, but overall he was very effective, particularly with his fastball which had a little extra movement. This was Roark's 13th career appearances against the Braves, the team he faced in his MLB debut in 2013. He now holds a 1.78 ERA in 60 2/3 total innings vs. Atlanta.
Werth, Drew notch first homers: Veterans Drew and Werth both notched their first homers of the season in the fourth inning to give the Nats three runs, enough for a win on Wednesday night. Drew has now homered for five different franchises, while Werth now has 199 career bombs. Next stop: 200. Will he get there before Bryce Harper hits No. 100?
Taylor still scuffling: Werth may have had a good night, but his fellow outfielder Michael Taylor just can't break out of his slump. Taylor went 0-for-4 on Wednesday night and is now batting just .138 on the season. He had hits in three straight games entering this game, but it was not enough to ease any concerns about him in the leadoff spot. With Ben Revere now in the second week of his rehab from a strained oblique, Baker has to be considering an adjustment to his lineup. Taylor was excellent this spring, but has just not been able to get going and set the table for the Nats so far in the regular season.
Up next: The Nats and Braves close their four-game series with a 4:05 p.m. start at Nationals Park in the final game before the Nats head on the road for a seven-game road trip beginning Friday night in Philly. Thursday night's game will feature Braves right-hander Julio Teheran against either Stephen Strasburg - if he feels better - or Yusmeiro Petit in a spot start.