They just kept hanging around, didn’t they? While the Washington Nationals didn’t have much of a chance to realistically make the 2013 MLB Playoffs, the mathematicians said they did and that’s all they needed to put together a string of wins that gave Nationals fans something to cheer about in a season that gave them something to cry about.
For a second straight year, the Nationals mistimed their playoff push. Last season, the team peaked too soon and by the time they got to the playoffs, they were all burned out and were knocked out by the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5 of the NLDS. On Monday night, the Nationals lost to the Cardinals 4-3 to be officially eliminated from the playoffs. It’s kind of ironic that the Cardinals knocked them out in both situations, isn’t it?
In 2013, they peaked too late. Their run to the playoffs began in August and carried into September, where the Nationals rose to the top of MLB and began playing like the team that many picked to win the World Series before the season began. Some have even gone as far as to say that the Nationals have been the best team in baseball in the month of September. In the end, they came up just short.
It is impressive, really, that a team that nobody gave a chance to at the All-Star break just barely missed the playoffs. They certainly gave the Cincinnati Reds something to think about and showed baseball that there was a reason why they were picked to win it all back in April.
It isn’t a stretch to say that if the Nationals had made the postseason, they would have stood a pretty good chance at making it to the World Series with quality of baseball that they have been playing.
In 2014, the Nationals will be in their third season of playoff contention. Who knows? Maybe in 2014, they’ll time their jump just right. As the old saying goes, third time’s the charm.