A while back looking at this stretch I said that if the Nats ended up here 9 games up that would be enough. I even thought to myself that 8 games might be enough to call it. Where are we? 7.5 games up on the Marlins. RIGHT THERE
So basically we enter a time frame where a Nats win and Marlins loss means I'll probably call it. The Mets have an outside chance, I suppose, if you are being technical about it, to get back in there but why would you think that? The talk has been about the Mets not winning back to back games in forever but the reality is they haven't won a series since taking one from MIA. The Mets have in fact been a great friend to the Nats. Since June 27th when the Nats had a modest 3 game lead on the Mets and Marlins, the Mets have gone 4-2 versus the Marlins and 1-6 versus the Nats. Flip the Marlins games and make the Nats series competitive (say 3-4) and the Marlins are an honest threat rather than holding on by their fingernails. Thanks Mets!
The Nats still have potential to have offensive problems heading down the stretch. If Bryce doesn't come back healthy and right, then the bottom of the line-up is a hole and the top is relying on a couple of injury risks and a rookie to keep it from being a two-man show. But the Nats are ok skating on this for as long as their NL East opponents can't capitalize and the pitching remains very strong. As long as it is set and ready at game 162 then it can take it's time finding its feet again. Will it? We'll see. Yesterday gave you an idea of how Werth and Rendon can compliment Ramos and Murphy. In itself not enough but the base from where a returning Bryce and one more solid bat (Turner?) can finish off the thing.
Gio was old Gio. He's been pretty good recently but I think, looking to playoffs, that he's just the fourth arm, not the fourth starter. If the Nats are up 3-0, maybe 3-1, maaaaaaybe 2-1 in a 7 gamer, then you can roll with Gio in that next game, especially if the team has some strong lefty bats. Otherwise he's mopping up for Stras - Max - Roark.
OK day off. Relax. Put up the plastic and wheel the champagne out, but don't bring the cameras in yet. We don't want to be gauche.