The 2013 season has not gone as the Washington Nationals had planned. The team has highly underachieved after making the postseason a season ago, yet there is still hope. The Nationals currently sit 4.5 games behind the Cincinnati Reds for the second wild card spot. Washington has been fighting for its season since August, they’ve posted a 21-6 record since August 20, the best record in Major League Baseball during that span.
The Nats got a huge boost of momentum on Tuesday against the NL East leading Atlanta Braves. A day removed from the Navy Yard shooting, which is located about a mile away from the Nationals’ stadium, the team took the field once again and attempted to take their minds off of what happened a day prior. With the season potentially on the line, the Nats came to bat in the bottom of the ninth trailing the Braves by two runs. Not only were they down two runs, but the Braves sent out closer Craig Kimbrel, who happens to be the league’s best closer this season. The Nationals didn’t panic and rallied to win the game, blowing the save for Kimbrel. The team would go on to win the night cap, sweeping the day-night doubleheader.
There are 11 games remaining in the MLB season for the Nationals; sitting 4.5 games behind might look like a long shot, but it is still possible. The Pittsburgh Pirates or St. Louis Cardinals will likely win the NL Central, giving the team that doesn’t win it the first wild card spot. However, many things can happen from now until then. The Pirates and Reds have six games remaining against one another, so the Nationals could possibly make up some ground and get a wild card spot. Another key series will be when the Nationals travel to St. Louis for a three-game series against the Cardinals.
A couple weeks ago, it looked like the NL Central would send three teams to the postseason, but that isn’t a give in now. The Nationals are very capable of continuing its current playoff push. With the two teams ahead of them battling it out and getting a shot at the Cardinals, anything can happen.
Washington Nationals fans: you still have hope to see your team playing playoff baseball in a couple weeks.