Pessimistic Nats fan : We went 10-6 and lost a game and a half of ground to the Mets
Optimistic Nats fan : The Mets went 11-4 and didn't put us away.
God, the Braves look bad right now, don't they? I know it feels like a sweep is coming but sweeps are hard. Four game sweeps even harder. 3-1 is fine. So don't get all crazy if the Nats lose one.
I'm just going to repeat myself at this point. Right now the Nats are in a zombie like state. Not dead but not alive. Too close to write off the season, too far away to get excited for a comeback. That Mets series sits out there and it's has more potential than any series up until now to change this. Bury the Nats or give them new life, either is completely possible.
Of course the boring option happens more often than not, meaning the Nats won't go into the series 9 games out and last gasp desperate, or 3 games out and rolling. They'll go into it 6 games out. They won't get swept or sweep, they'll win like 2 of 3 and set up a slog of trying to make up 2 games in 3 weeks, to give the last series some meaning.
That last series. More than "6 H2H" that last series is what gives this chase seemingly unending hope. A Nats sweep is admittedly unlikely - let's say you give them a 45% chance to win each game - they would have 9% chance of sweeping. But compare that to say the chance the Nats win three games vs Team X while the Mets lose three to Team Y to end the year. Even if you give the Nats something like 55% chance of winning and the Mets 55% chance of losing (and really why would you do either?), that chance drops under 3%. And again - that's with unrealistic odds here. It's not close. A sweep, even if you don't like the Nats chances against the Mets, isn't crazy. Two sweeps is.
So we're set up for a long slow death because they Nats don't have to get close to first place ASAP to maintain hope. They only have to reach 3 games out by game 159. They are 6 games out of first with 29 to play, but they are 3 games out of having a chance with 26 to play.
Side note : Just to note in case it becomes something the Nats have picked up 2.5 games on the 2nd Wild Card Cubs in the past 9 days. The Cubs are still 7.5 games ahead of the Nats but if they go into free fall.... like I said just putting it out there in case it matters in a week.