The Washington Nationals are currently in the midst of their longest winning streak of the season at seven straight, and they now find themselves 4.5 games back of the Cincinnati Reds, who are nowhere near as hot as Washington, but will definitely make things difficult down the stretch.
Teams on the cusp of the playoffs usually try to give off the the idea that they are not watching the scoreboard or keeping track of teams ahead of them, but Washington probably is scoreboard watching. What’s more, teams usually need to worry less about what’s going on in front of them compared to taking care of their own business.
Most of this season, Washington has, for the most part, played down to their competition, getting baffled by the likes of Dillon Gee — a solid pitcher with unspectacular stuff that Washington should crush, but for some reason doesn’t.
However, Washington is finally playing the way they have been expected to play all season. They are at a pivotal point where, above all, they need to take care of their own business, beat who they need to beat, and continue to put pressure on Cincinnati.
Washington has two more games against the Philadelphia Phillies for the season, then they have probably the biggest series of the season based on their current position — three final games against the Atlanta Braves, a team that has six losses in their last 10 and has shown some weak spots of late. Atlanta, for the most part, has owned Washington this season, but they have never faced the Nationals as hot as they are now.
After these two series, Washington has another three against the Miami Marlins, a team they just swept, and then three against the St. Louis Cardinals and three against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Aside from being able to exact revenge on the Cardinals, who are clinging to a very small lead in the NL Central, they can take advantage of the Diamondbacks, who are below them in the Wild Card standings.
Needless to say, Washington has been taking care of their own business, and fans cannot ask for much more.