On Thursday night, the Washington Nationals blew out the Miami Marlins 9-0 in Washington D.C. to complete the series sweep and move two games above .500. The game completed an important step in their playoff chase.
While it may have been the lousy Marlins, a team that is trying to make the playoffs needs to win the easy ones. Not only did the Nationals win this series, they won it in a fairly convincing fashion.
In game one, the Nationals got a pitching gem from Stephen Strasburg and the bullpen. The bats were only able to muster up two runs before the rain delay, but that was all they would need. Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano were dominant as they combined for three no-hit innings to secure the victory.
In game two, the Nationals’ offense began to come to life. Jayson Werth came to the rescue after the Marlins took a 3-2 lead when he knocked a solo shot to deep center. Ian Desmond then singled to left for the game’s go-ahead run.
Game three, the Nationals came together and put up a curly W that reminded us all why they were preseason favorites to win it all. Gio Gonzalez had another fantastic outing for his eighth win of the season. Bryce Harper, Werth and Desmond all hit homers as the Nats annihilated their NL East foes.
If there’s one thing that this series showed us, it’s that the Nationals aren’t dead yet.
Just a few weeks ago, many around baseball were saying they were out of it and some were already starting to look ahead to next year. While the future may be bright, the present is just as promising.
The Nationals are now just 6.5 games of the second NL Wild Card spot, something that is reachable if they can continue to win ball games like they currently are. They are now 16-9 this August, and have put together two win streaks of five games.
With just over one month left, the Nationals are putting themselves in position to at least make things interesting. While the NL East division title may be out of reach, the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates better not falter, or the Nationals may be there to steal that playoff spot.