At the start of the 2013 season, the Washington Nationals were viewed as one of the best overall teams in all of baseball. Injuries and lackluster play had the Nationals falling fast from playoff contention. However, the Nationals have gotten hot as of late, and could have put themselves right nick into wild card contention in the National League. With the final wild card spot in sight, is there enough time for the Nationals to catch the final spot? With 15 games left in the regular season, there is a slim possibility, but it’s going to take a little luck.
As it sits right now, the Nationals are five and half games back of the Cincinnati Reds for the final wild card spot. Putting it in other terms, the Nationals are five losses behind the Reds for the last wild card spot. The schedule for the Nationals going through the rest of the regular season isn’t that easy. They play their final ten home games against the Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins. Then they take their final two series of the year on the road against the St. Louis Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks. Now out of that group, the Cardinals and Braves seem to be the only real tough tests for the Nationals.
Nationals Manager Davey Johnson really has his players fired up for this stretch run. They just came off a four-game dominating sweep of the New York Mets, which shows me that the Nationals are fired up and playing some inspired baseball. The Nationals are going to have to play some near perfect baseball, and get a little help from some other teams. For the Nationals to really make a push for this, they would need to go, at worst, 12-3, the rest of the season to have a chance to get in. They also need the Reds, and maybe the Pittsburgh Pirates, to really falter down the stretch.
The Nationals have the tools and weapons to make the rush. Jaysom Werth, Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond have been tearing the cover off the baseball the past few weeks, and will have to keep that pace up to keep the Nats in the chase. Washington’s pitching staff is no slouch either, as Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmerman have been helping keep the Nats heads above water, and Raphel Soriano has been dominating out of the bullpen, saving 41 games. The support from the rest of the pitching staff really needs to step up right now to give them the push they need.
The Nationals have the talent here, and will make it interesting; that’s for sure. I just don’t know if there is enough here to get them to power past the Reds over the final two weeks of the season. It will make it interesting, and the Nationals will surely make a solid push for it, but I just have a feeling that it may be too little too late for the Nationals.
What do you think?