I want you to think back to the beginning of the season. No, scratch that. I want you to think back to the end of last season. Washington Nationals’ fans will remember winning the NL East and seeing their team go to the playoffs for the first time ever. The loss in the divisional round was tough, but it only made fans more excited to see what the team could do next year.
Now you can think back to the beginning of this season. The season got off to a thrilling start. Stephen Strasburg was back and seemingly healthier than ever. They swept the Marlins in their first series of the season. It seemed the Nationals were picking up right where they left off.
But then things started to go downhill, and now we have just over a month of baseball left to play and the Nationals are 13 games behind the Braves in the East. They are also six and a half games out of a NL Wild Card spot. And they are only three games over .500 at this point.
But I don’t think the Nationals should be counted out just yet. They still have some life in their team. They won’t reach the playoffs through winning the East; Atlanta is too dominant a team to let that be taken from them. But six and a half games back with four weeks of baseball left is completely doable.
Let’s take a look at the Nationals upcoming schedule for the remainder of the season. Of the nine series’ that they have left, seven of those are against NL East opponents. They only play the Braves one more time, but get Miami, Philadelphia, and New York twice. The Nationals now have their destiny in their own hands: all three of those teams are under .500. If the Nationals want this bad enough, they can attain it.
But what is really interesting to me is the final series of the year for the Nationals. Their final series is three games, at home, against the Diamondbacks. Now normally this would not mean anything to a Nationals fan. However, it is the Diamondbacks that sit 6.5 games ahead of the Nationals for the Wild Card spot. A spot in the postseason could realistically come down to the final game of the season.
If Nationals fans can get anything out of hearing this, it is that your season is not over. You have to hope the Nationals take the momentum they have from sweeping the Marlins into their next series against the Mets. And continue that momentum all the way to October.