There is something to be said for never calling it quits. The never-say-die attitude is admirable in nearly any situation up to a point. That point has been getting close and passed the Washington Nationals for weeks now. Yet they still feel the need to proclaim that they could make the playoffs if they run the table and win the rest of their games. Keep in mind they have lost since the last time they said that of course. To be fair to the Nationals, let’s look at what would have to happen for them to make the playoffs.
The Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds are tied for both wildcard spots so if the season ended right now they would play each other in the wildcard playoff game. The Nats would have to overtake one of these two teams in order to claim a playoff spot. That would mean one of the two would have to begin losing. The Reds just swept the hottest team in MLB so for arguments sake; let’s say the Pirates are the team the Nats are chasing.
Assuming the Pirates do not retake the lead in the National League Central which they are only 1.5 games away from, their magic number for the second wildcard spot is 12 because the Nationals are 8 games out with 20 games left to play. That means that for the Nationals to win a spot, the Pirates would have to play 7 – 13 baseball for the rest of the season which includes a whopping 11-game home stand. Even if the Pirates did that which they likely will not do since they haven’t played that badly all year long, the Nationals would have to win every game for the rest of the season.
Can we please just admit that the Nationals squandered their chances to stay close earlier in the season and cost themselves a spot? Please, can we just admit it? It is over. They need better pitching and/or better hitting in order to win 10 games in a row, much less 20. There is a thin line between believing in oneself and deceiving oneself and the Nationals are crossing that line. Step back and make another go at the playoffs in 2014 with an improved team.