Last night I realized something depressing. All year we've been comparing the Nats to the 2012 98 win Nats. Obviously they aren't going to get there but here's the thing. Right now, if the Nats play as they have up until this point, they won't even match the 2011 Nats. The 2011 Nats had an OF that primarily featured Laynce Nix and Rick Ankiel. Alex Cora and the corpse of Pudge played quarter seasons. Chris Marrero, who isn't ready for the majors this year, got up to the plate over 100 times. Lannan, Livan and Marquis all pitched over 120 innings. Wang started 11 games. This wasn't a good team.
And yet here are the Nats projected final standings
2011 : 80-81
2013 (projected) : 80-82
Who would have thunk that?
The Nats need to go 19-17 in order to "pass" their 2011 team in wins. Seems easy enough, but nothing's been easy for the Nats this year. The played that well to start the season, and June through early July was about that good. Every other 6 week stretch you can pull out though, the Nats couldn't play that well. It's a toss up. I like 2013's chances but God knows they've disappointed every step of the way.
Luckily for the Nats there aren't any more past teams sitting out there to embarrass them. People have very fond memories of the 2005 squad that went 81-81 and crazily led the NL East for a good long while before reality caught up with them so a comparison to them wouldn't be terrible. The next "best" Nats team was the 2007 73-89 Nats. You might remember the immortal names in the rotation like Matt Chico, Mike "Acheived goal of being an obscure trivia answer" Bacsik, Jason Bergmann, Shawn Hill, Tim Redding, and Jason Simontacchi. To not pass them the Nats would have to go 11-25 or worse. These Nats aren't good but they're not that bad.
Ugh, what a terrible terrible season. Still baby steps are taking place. 2-1 so far only 2-2 to reach the very modest 4-3 road trip goal I set out before them. Royals are starting to play more like the Royals. Maybe just maybe they can end on a high note, instead of placing themselves behind Riggleman's Last Stand in Nats history.