For all the rehashing and overanalyzing that took place at the end of the 2013 season, anyone who was trying to figure out what went wrong for the Nationals really could point to one simple fact: They couldn't beat the Braves.
The Nationals were beaten up by their division rivals, going 6-13 against Atlanta and ultimately finishing 10 games back in the NL East. Suppose they merely held their own against the Braves and went 10-9. They would have wound up 90-72, only two games back. And suppose they reversed their fortunes against Atlanta altogether and went 13-6 in head-to-head matchups. Then they would have wound up 93-69, winning the division by four games.