The Nats have played pretty well recently (9-9 in their last 18) bringing their record up to 49-63 which puts them on pace for 71 wins for the season. That's not a great goal but it is in the general range of the 73 wins I predicted for the team, and I like to be right. Just for kicks, and because it makes for a real easy and short post, how well do the Nats have to play to win 73 games or hit some other win milestones?
(For reference the Nats best 50 game stretch this year was 26-24 at the very beginning of the year, their worst stretch was 17-33 which pretty much covered all of June and July)
60 wins (beating the last 2 years): 11-39 or a 36 season win pace. In other words - it'll happen.
63 wins (avoiding 100 losses): 14-36 or a 45 win pace. Again very likely, though over the course of 50 games it could fail to happen.
70 wins : 21-29 or a 68 win pace. Pretty much on par with what we'd expect.
73 wins (proving me right) : 24-26 or a 78 win pace. We're getting pretty close to the best the Nats have done this season, but I certainly think it's doable.
74 wins (best record since 2005) : 25-25 or an 81 win pace. Better chance than something like 63 wins, but we're beginning to hit the limit of what this team is capable of.
81 wins : 32-18 or an 103 win pace. I'd bet on 63 wins before I'd bet on this.
I'd say the modest goal of 74 wins is the one to shoot for. Is it possible? I think so. The Nats' schedule breaks favorably from here on out. Sure they have to play the Braves and Phillies for 3 more series each, but they also get the Marlins and the Mets for 5 more combined. More importantly their non-division games are as easy as can be. Other than St. Louis they play the worst team in the NL (Pirates), the 2nd worst (Diamondbacks), the 3rd worst (Cubs), and the 4th worst (Astros). These are all teams that the Nationals currently have a better record than. We all know what happened before when the Nats had an easy schedule lined up but just because they choked once doesn't mean they will again. The odds favor a strongish finish for the Nats and if it's strong enough this could be the best season record wise the Nats have had in 5 years.