Oh, sure. You can look at yesterday's 6-4 final score (or the 0-3 in the standings -- the only team with that record) and think, "Here we go again."
You might be right, but if you squint your eyes a little bit, it doesn't look so bad.
Sure, Daniel Cabrera gave up five runs. But, you know what? He wasn't that bad. He had one terrible, terrible inning, but other than that, he was a perfectly mediocre pitcher.
He didn't have his sharpest command, but he wasn't overly wild -- besides nailing the umpire with a stray pitch in the first inning.
He left a few pitches where he shouldn't have in that fateful inning, but those things happen.
Besides, the ensuing 7.50 ERA leads all Nats starters. That's progress, right?
With the lineup, Manny Acta shook things up a bit. Lastings Milledge went to the bench, with Elijah Dukes in his place. Willie Harris got the start at 2B. Josh Willingham played in left, while Adam Dunn stood around first.
While four runs doesn't seem like a good showing, there were signs.
For one, they finally took some walks. They had only drawn one in the first two games. Yesterday, they took 10. Ten! They did a much better job of waiting for their pitches.
True, they only managed five measly hits, but that's a whole lot of baserunners, and a whole lot of extra pitches the Fish pen had to lob.
It almost worked in the end, as the Nats had a chance to tie the game in the 9th: Austin Kearns' should-be hit fell into a glove, on a pretty solid defensive play.
An L is an L, but Nats fans should feel a bit better about this one than the last.
(At least 'til they look at the upcoming games on the schedule.)
Chris Needham used to write Capitol Punishment. He's confident they won't be 0-4 after tonight.