Ok ok, the doom sayers will point out there actually IS enough time. If the Braves sweep the Pirates (in Pittsburgh) and the Phillies sweep the Nats (in Washington), there will be a tie for first, fire, brimstone, freezing rain, etc. etc. But think about what you're saying. The Nats are better than the Phillies. The Nats are at home. Are they really going to get swept? The Braves are very good but the Pirates are a .500 ball club, and they are playing at home. Are they really going to get swept? One unlikely sweep? Maybe. Two unlikely sweeps? No.
I do expect the Braves to pick up a game on the Nats though. The Nats are not playing well and the Phillies are so I can see the Nats only winning 1. Same sort of thing going on with Braves and Pirates. I had it pegged as a meaningless pick-up in game 162, but if it happens tonight, circle the wagons. The doomsayers will be out in full force.
- Tyler Cloyd is out. That's bad in the fact that he's no good, but it's good in the fact that someone not as good as him should get that start. If I were to guess, I'd expect maybe Jeremy Horst to start the game? Go like 2-3 innings followed by recent call-up Brummett? This is versus Gio remember. So if the the worst happens tonight and the Nats haven't been able to take the champagne off the ice, remember tomorrow is hugely in the Nats favor.
- Another thing in the Nats favor, despite some noise made about getting young arms out there, the Pirates are slated to start Correia and Burnett to finish the season.
- I got all tweeted at by Chris Coxen noting how Detwiler and EJax have been pretty terrible since Strasburg's been shutdown. You can say that's a little unfair. Detwiler had 3 of 4 decent starts before tanking the last two and Edwin's last game can make any stretch look bad, but the actual stats these guys put up isn't the take-away. The point is Strasburg is MUCH better than either of these two on a game-in, game-out basis. Anyway you look at it, the shutdown made the Nationals a worse team heading into the playoffs.
- HFA sits as a tie now. The Reds play at the Cardinals, who could still lose the 2nd WC, so they will be motivated, at least for one game. While in alternate hell universe the Nats could finish as the WC, the Nats cannot finish in the #3 slot (the worst they can do is tie SF and the Nats have the head-to-head advantage). So they will open on the road no matter what.
- As much fun as last year's down to the wire finish was, even with the 2nd WC we may not get a repeat performance. Every playoff position could be sewn up tonight.