Owning the Nats

Jayson Werth said he expects the Nationals to change the culture surrounding the club in the next few years. (Nick Wass/AP)

ON A TRAIN -- It's the first trip of the season to Washington, and I'll venture to say some of you out there in cyberspace will be coming too.

Some of you will cheer for Jayson Werth. Some of you will boo.

Maybe more of you will boo after reading Werth's prediction in The Washington Post. In a story written by Adam Kilgore, Werth says the Nationals will change the culture in Washington much like the Phillies did at Citizens Bank Park when the visiting Mets came to town.

Eventually, he says, Phillies fans won't be making this trip any longer.


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"Last year when we played the Mets, there weren’t any Mets fans in the seats,” Werth said. “They wouldn’t dare come down. I think four years from now, it’ll be the same way in Washington. Or sooner.”

It's a tall task, for sure. From 2007 to 2010, the Phillies were 51-21 against Washington.

How remarkable is that? In the same span, the Braves were 35-37 against Washington. (That does not include a 2-1 series win to open the 2011 season.)

In three of those seasons, Atlanta finished six, seven and five games behind the Phillies for the National League East title. Those extra four wins per season, on average, against the Nationals for the Phillies look fairly important when you think about it that way.

The first of 18 matchups in 2011 is at 7:05 p.m. Games in Washington provided seminal moments for Phillies fans in 2010. Opening day was there and it was Roy Halladay's inauguration to a Cy Young season. The visiting clubhouse at Nationals Park became a stage for champagne popping in celebration for a fourth consecutive NL East crown.

Dominance against Washington will be essential again in 2011 and until that trend changes, it'll be Phillies red in the stands, not Nationals.

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