The Washington Nationals have clinched a playoff spot for the first time in franchise history. The Nationals did this by defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1 Thursday night. Washington ran its record to an all-time high of 91-58. It is the first time the organization has won 90 games or more.
This is a special time to be a Nationals fan. When the team arrived in 2005 from Montreal they were wards of the league. The franchise was owned by MLB and the 29 existing owners. If not for the MLB Player’s Union and Washington being available the Montreal Expos probably would have folded. If it were up to the owners they would have. Washington had been available for 34 years and hadn’t gotten a team.
Now, after eight years of building a solid organization from top to bottom the Nationals are going to the post season. It has been fun watching them get there.
It has been fun watching the pitching staff of Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler deal day after day. It has been fun watching closer Tyler Clippard make fans sweat almost every outing before locking up another curly W.
It has been fun watching the infield of Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa and Adam LaRoche take away base hits and runs with their gloves. It has been fun watching all of them be productive at the plate, especially LaRoche. Desmond was selected for the National League all-star team, but was unable to play because of injury.
It has been fun watching 19 year old rookie phenom Bryce Harper come up to the majors and look like he belongs. Harper was moved to center field and second spot in the batting order. He has shown glimpses of his potential while playing the game hard every night.
It has been fun watching players like Michael Morse and Jayson Werth battle back from injury to be productive and solidify a batting lineup that has been dangerous from top to bottom.
It has been fun to watch reserves like Roger Bernadina, Tyler Moore, Steve Lombardozzi and Chad Tracy produce whenever called upon.
It has been fun watching catcher Jesus Flores keep the Nationals pitching staff going after losing Wilson Ramos to injury. It was a shame he was replaced by Kurt Suzuki in August. However it has been fun watching Suzuki make stops behind home plate with lightening quick reflexes that one is only born with.
It has been fun watching Davey Johnson manage this team. He said that if they did not make the post season then the Nationals should let him go.
Johnson won’t have to worry about that.
The Nationals have clinched.