Serious Winning Streak Required for Washington Nationals' Playoff Berth

By James Williams
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Okay, follow me here. The Washington Nationals have 32 games left in the 2013 season, but they can still capture the final National League Wild Card playoff spot. All they have to do is finish the season on a 25-7 or better run, and I see them making it back to the playoffs for the second season in a row. As of today they’re 8.5 games behind the Cincinnati Reds for the final Wild Card spot in the NL, with 32 games left in the season.

So going 25-7 the rest of the way is a piece of cake, right? They can send Nationals manager Davey Johnson out in style. A return trip to the National League playoffs as a retirement gift.

Washington just went 5-1  over their last six games and are coming home 6-4 after a ten game road trip.

This week’s homestand begins a stretch of 19 consecutive games against the bottom three teams in the East, giving the Nationals one final chance to revive their playoff hopes.

Meanwhile, the last-place Miami Marlins have lost five of six heading into Tuesday night and look to get their Major League-worst offense going against the Nationals’ reliever-turned-starter Ross Ohlendorf. Any Nationals fan will quickly point out that for some reason the Marlins have always been a pain to Washington. But if the team wants to end this season with a big time bang then a sweep of Miami is a must.

The Labor Day weekend in Washington will see the New York Mets, losers of their last four games in a row, head to Nationals Park. Then the Nationals head up I-95 to face the struggling Philadelphia Phillies for three games, and then it is off to Miami for three more before closing out the trip with three more against the Mets in New York.

On Friday, September 13 the Nationals start their final homestand of the season against the Phillies over the weekend before facing the Atlanta BravesThat means from August 27 until September 16 the Nationals will not play a single game against a team with an above .500 record. By the way, after the Braves leave town on Wednesday, September 18, the Marlins come to Washington to play a four game series to end the final homestand of the season.

Then if the Nationals have taken care of business against the bottom half of the division they end the season on the road with what could be a head to head battle for that final Wild Card berth. They face the St. Louis Cardinals for three games starting Monday, September 23 before closing out the 2013 regular season with a three game weekend series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The question is can the Washington Nationals finish this season at a 25-7 clip? The answer is yes, they can. But will they? That depends how big of a fan you are of this team.

Rant Sports James Williams is a seven time Emmy Award winner as a producer, director and writer. You can follow him at @Wordmandc and Join him at Google +        

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