Cubs call Nationals the NL's best

WASHINGTON -- A lot of teams have put a beating on the Chicago Cubs this season, but nobody has quite done it like the Nationals have done it this week.

The Nationals edged the Cubs best starter, Jeff Samardzija, on Monday and have pummeled them in the last two games hitting 12 combined home runs.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum hasn’t even been around to watch all of the innings in the series – he was ejected in the fifth inning Wednesday -- but he has watched enough to know who is the class of the National League right now.

“I think you’re obviously seeing of all the teams we have played, this is by far the best team that we have played all year,” Sveum said. “That’s like an American League lineup too with guys that hit the ball a long way, grind at-bats out and take advantage of any mistake that’s thrown."

Sveum can’t find a weakness.

“Pitching, bullpen, starting pitching, defense, speed, power,” he said. “That’s as good a team as there is in the National League. That’s why they have the best record.”

Chris Volstad wasn’t about to argue that point. The right-hander has struggled all season but has been better over the past month, even posting back-to-back victories in his last two starts. But he was roughed up Wednesday, giving up five runs on nine hits over five innings.

Are they the best in the NL?

“The way they have been swinging it lately, yeah,” Volstad said. “You look back at them playing the Cardinals and they put runs all over the place against them too. They’re a good team and they’re hot. It’s a tough combo but you still have to go out there and make good pitches.”