A little bit at least? I hope so because when I say the Nats are better than the Mets, on paper at least, I'm not kidding. I mentioned this in the comments yesterday but here it is again.
The Mets have 55 games left. Their best 55-game streak this year was 30-25
The Nats have 57 games left. Their best 57-game streak this year was 36-21
True, the Mets have more talent playing for their team now then they had at any point this year. But then again you might say the same thing about the Nats and certainly would with the return of Strasburg, then Span. I'm not crazy thinking the Nats still have the edge. Neither are the stats who continue to have the Nats as slight favorites. That being said there are three giant caveats hanging over the Nats "edge".
The first is the fact that it's based on expected performance, the best guess you can make on how players will perform from here on out. That's variable enough as it is. Add in "returning from injury" and the reasonable possiblities become so wide to almost be comical. The best guess for Rendon may be something like .280 / .350 / . 400 for the rest of the year. But .300 / .380 / .500 might be possible. So may .240 / .300 / .340. That variability means the best guess on how the Nats will end up is simply the most likely scenario out of dozens of scenarios that aren't particularly likely. One scenario had to be the most likely one. This is it.
The second caveat is that luck matters. People hate to hear that. Winner's pride is deeply ingrained in our psyche and we take any mention of luck as an affront, as if saying the winner got lucky is the equivalent of saying the winner didn't deserve the win, or didn't earn it. Both can be true though, you earned it, deserved it and got lucky and often that's what happens even if we try to deny it. This belief system creates the great paradox of sports, where we watch because we believe any team can win any game, but we also believe only the better team wins it all. It's not even completely true that the better team that day wins. Team A could be a pitching, hitting, and fielding machine. Team B could be the exact opposite. But have Team A hit line drives right at fielders at inopportune times while Team B manages a swinging bunt single, another to move him over, and an excuse-me bloop double down the line and Team B, clearly the worse team both that day and overall, can win that game.
The first two caveats are neither good nor bad. The Nats may play much better than expected and get lucky, and run away with the division. The Nats may play much worse than expected and get unlucky, and quickly fade from playoff contention. These things sit out there as more than potential equalizers to any edge the Nats may have. Equalizers that could be ignored say, if the Nats were up 6 games, but down 1 they could easily decide the season. But you'd still have to say they have an edge though, at least right now. Which brings us to the third caveat.
The Nats edge has grown slim enough that a bad half-week may wipe it out. The Mets have made themselves a better team. The Nats have had fading performances from key players. The once sizable talent difference is down to a mere few games over the course of the season. Right now the Nats are thought to be able to make up 3 games on the Mets for various reasons. That'll still be true let's say 5 games from now. But have the Mets go 4-1 and the Nats go 1-4 in those games and the gap between them will now be 4 games. It won't really matter that you think the Nats could make up 3 games in the remaining time. They'll need to make up 4. The Nats currently have the slimmest of cushions. For the Nats to remain favorites they can lose a game perhaps two more in the standings. Time will slowly tick away that advantage but right now losing games in the standings is the bigger worry.
The Nats need to start winning now. There isn't any way around it. Last night was a good start, winning a game that could have gotten away from them. Keep it going. Get back into first. Get a bigger cushion. Dammit, do it.