Hidden behind the World Cup and Strasburg* is the fact the Nats finally broke their long Braves nightmare, taking the final two games of the series, splitting the series as a whole, and remaining a game and a half in first place.
Hidden behind that is the fact that the offense has some serious issues but hey - you win 2 games to hold onto first and you get a reprieve. Until tomorrow.
Fister and Roark came up big. Fister, as far as I'm concerned, is the ace of the staff now. If he can avoid giving up the long ball it's nearly impossible to put up a big inning. Roark has pitched like an ace as well up until this point. Though I still worry about the guy. Maybe that's unfounded but it seems to me he's laboring a bit recently and the Nats are starting to cut on him early in recent outings. This could be part of a plan. Roark has maxed out at about 160 IP in his career. If he kept going deep into games the entirity of September (and the playoffs) would be a big question mark. Pull him on the early side now and save him for later? That's the hope anyway.
For those of you saying - come on Harper your fears are unfounded. Roark will pitch this well forever... forever... forever... I have two words for you Zimmermann Jordan. (you could probably reverse them to make more sense).
Last year Jordan brought a 2.28 ERA into July and people were talking about him as if he was one of the best pitchers in the NL. Jordan is great, but he doesn't belong in that class. Over the next three months he put up a 4.38 ERA and ended up with an ERA around what you'd expect. Water finds it's level. The thing on Roark's side is we don't really know his level. I suspect it's not this good - but hey - I can be wrong.
Milwaukee tonight. Another chance for the Nats to prove something or the opposite as the Brewers are the new "best team in the NL". It is the only hard set for a while so come out of here doing well and they should be able to hold onto first for the time being. Of course nothing has gone exactly as we thought so they'll probably sweep Milwaukee and then lose 9 of 10 to the Cubs and Rockies just because.
*Seriously I think the Nats could make the World Series. Lose 4 games to none while scoring all of 2 runs and if Strasburg gives up 3 runs in the first inning of the first game (despite going 7 and giving up 4) THAT would be what some fans will take away from the series.