As the Washington Nationals begin game two versus the Miami Marlins, they sit seven games back of the Cincinnati Reds for the second wild card spot, and 13 back of the Atlanta Braves for the NL East title. The chances are Washington has squandered their opportunity at the division, but crazier things have happened in recent memory, so it will not be over until it is over.
Right now, Washington needs to focus on something very simple, even more simple than aiming for the second Wild Card spot.
Washington just needs to win games.
At 66-65, things have obviously not gone the Nationals’ way in 2013. From injuries, to a hot start by the Braves, to an abysmal offense and being slow to react to certain player’ struggles, Washington’s season has been nothing short of a nightmare.
However, Washington’s schedule may be the saving grace of a nightmare season. The Nationals have just begun a stretch of 19 straight contests against the Marlins, New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies, along with a stretch of 23 games against these opponents in their next 26 games.
The lone series not against or in Philadelphia, Miami or Flushing comes at home versus the Braves. If you have not been watching, the Phillies, Marlins and Mets are a combined 118-224, or 106 games under the .500 mark. Furthermore, the Mets have also just suffered the worst injury news since Stephen Strasburg needed Tommy John, as their own Strasburg, Matt Harvey, will likely need the surgery as well.
This is a stretch that could change the entire scope of Washington’s season. Up until now, their season has been widely viewed as perhaps the most disappointing in the bigs, though the Los Angeles Angels may have something to say about that. As they say, it is always darkest before the dawn, and that statement could ring very true for the final month of Washington’s season.