Despite the combination of God, the umps, and the Mets themselves conspiring to lose that game yesterday (I like to think the Padres were innocent bystanders and if they simply showed up something would have happened to give them that win) the Nats are still only 3 games up on the Mets heading into this weekend series. A sweep might put the Mets away for good but the more likely series win would only put the Nats 4 games up. I don't think anyone that's watched the Nats this year thinks they can't blow that lead.
Thanks to the Mets ineptitude all over the place the past few days Nats fans are feeling pretty good but let me bring some humility back. In all the fun of mocking the Mets, don't forget that the Nats are 100
games into the season and sit only 3 games ahead of what you consider an
incredibly poorly run, snake-bit organization.The Nats just struggled to beat a dead Marlins team, scoring all of 1 run in the process. They bumbled through July at 12-12 giving them monthly records of 10-13, 18-9, 15-12, and either 13-12 or 12-13 depending. What looks like the outlier here? Yes they were moderately healthy during that 18-9 stretch but it's hard to unpack what was team health and what was Bryce Harper's adventures in putting up the greatest two weeks ever. 15-12 may be a better guess of the true Nats, or perhaps the 11-8 run with Rendon and Span playing, but these are low 90s win paces, not the paces of a dominating team. Play like that the rest of the year and you win the division, probably, but at 90 games.
That makes these games versus the Mets incredibly important. If the Nats, for whatever reason, don't have a 100 win pace run in them then they take a huge risk letting the Mets stay in it. The longer they do
that, the more likely that another injury or a run of bad luck suddenly puts them staring at an 86 win season and staring up at the Mets with a handful of weeks left to play. You don't want to leave the playoffs up to the fickleness of timing,
These games, the head to head ones, they don't "count double" necessarily, but every Nats win here is a guaranteed Mets loss. Every Nats win is a guaranteed game gained in the standings (and vice versa). Win the series and the Mets have a bigger hill to climb, you have a cushion if a minor thing goes wrong. Lose the series and it's an easier road and the cushion does not exist.
I'm tired of watching this team stumble over itself. There are no more excuses. Get it done.