Now there are no more symbolic lines to cross until elimination from the playoffs but each game lost in the standings hurts more because it would take longer to get back to where you wanted. Now we get into the paces.
- If the Mets go .500 (24-24) they will finish the season at 86-76
- For the Nats to win the NL East outright at 87-75 they therefore have to go 29-20
Maybe the Mets will go .500. However they've played at a .544 pace this season and since becoming the New New York Mets at the trade deadline they are 9-2*. Their schedule is the only one that's easier than the Nats for the remainder of the year.
You're looking at two unlikely scenarios that both have to play out. It's better to assume then, one unlikely scenario and that the other goes roughly according to plan. Right now we should be hoping for a Nats run, a la... let's say the Nats last year when they won 10 in a row starting on August 12th, or when they went 13-3 starting on September 7th, or a Mets collapse a la... well the Mets in 2013 when they went 10-20 starting on August 12th or in 2012 when they went 4-14 starting on August 4th. Yes, I'm using recent years to hint that it's not crazy to think it might happen. However, these are different teams. It's still not something to expect.
How may the Nats make a run? Hit, dammit, hit. It's both surprisingly and unsuprising why the Nats are floundering. Look at the team. The only above average hitters playing right now are Bryce, "Slappy" Yunel, and "Bench" Robinson. Every other bat is hitting below average for the year, starters, bench players, everyone. It's suprising that this has happened, but once you see it has happened it's no mystery why the Nats can't win. The starting pitching will give the Nats more winnable situations than it won't**. It's up to the hitting to convert on those. How to do that... I have no idea other than keep running out the guys you've got out there and hope it clicks. You can replace Werth as I noted yesterday but the truth is some combination of Werth, Rendon, & Zimm have to start hitting. Making a single move of playing Robinson for Werth isn't going to make the Nats score enough runs to matter on it's own.
* some commenters like to joke that I jinxed the Nats but if you look back what I said was I thought the Nats would win if the rosters stayed the same. If the Mets didn't have Clippard, Uribe, Johnson and Cespedes, do you think they are up 3.5 games? I'd bet even with the pitching they've got - maybe they are up 1.5. Maybe.
**A week or so ago I noted that the pitching wasn't being great. Since the 5th of August the Nats have gotten very good to great games from Ross, ZNN, Stras, Gio, and ZNN again. It's picking up.