It was not pretty, or easy, but the Washington Nationals took three of four in a four game set against the Chicago Cubs with a thirteen inning, 5-4 win yesterday after a two hour rain delay and having a 4-1 lead going into the ninth.
Washington may have blown a decent lead late, but their ability to hang tough with a short bullpen and a few starters sitting says more about how their season may be, albeit slowly, turning around. The turnaround may come as too little too late, but at least they can set themselves up nicely for 2014. With that in mind, Washington faces a big end to their road trip, starting tonight against the Kansas City Royals. The Royals, like Washington, had some pretty high expectations going into 2013 and are starting to live up to them, though they are only 2-8 in their last ten games and are 9.5 back in the AL Central.
Washington has won three straight games and with Kansas City’s recent play could easily turn that into five or six straight wins. Washington sits one game under .500 and could put themselves back on track with a series win. Combine that with the fact that Washington’s next six home games are against the Miami Marlins and the New York Mets, and Washington’s season could have a very different outlook in about a week. Of course, as we know, the Nationals have historically struggled against the Marlins, but Washington sports a 13-8 record combined versus the Mets and Marlins this season, and six straight against them could be just what the doctor ordered.
Washington’s proverbial goose may already be cooked, but we have seen in recent seasons that may not necessarily mean anything at all. A good week, and the Nationals season could look very, very different.