The Nats won and while the Mets won the Marlins lost, putting the Nats 6 games over their nearest competitor for the NL East crown. The end of the Nats difficult run (which Arizona is technically in, like a limp piece of lettuce hiding in your sandwich) comes up in a week and the Nats are looking very likely to end the run in as just as good as shape as they started. They've gone 9-8 during this time, which is completely respectable given the schedule but leaves the door open for a hot team to close some ground. Neither the Mets or Marlins could do it though. The Marlins going 10-9 and the Mets 8-10. Assuming nothing goes wrong the Nats will hit the easy part of the schedule, the part where you should see them pull away, at the edge of having the division wrapped up. It's not going to matter if they have 6 games H2H versus the Marlins or Mets if they are 10 games up at the end of the month.
But I won't call it just yet*. The Mets and Marlins made just enough improvements at the deadline to give their teams punchers chances and the Nats hard schedule isn't over. Soon though, it could happen real soon.
As for the trade deadline talk, I'm going to put it to bed. I'll hold to the fact that all you can count on by holding onto prospects is an increase in projected value. As a team that may mean a lot. You care about stuff like profits and long term budget planning. As a fan, projected value in of itself is of little importance. You want the tangential benefits of more wins and more playoffs. But you can't count on wins because wins will take those players making that projected value a reality, the team committing to using that value and the expected free money in the budget to sign FAs, and the FAs being willing to come to your team over other offers.** You really can't count on playoffs because playoffs take even more things going your way such as luck with injuries, breakouts vs collapses, and how your opponents develop over that time frame. For the fans, trading for now vs keeping prospects for later is a philosophical choice. There is no general right and wrong, merely opinion.
That is past now it's onto the stretch run and answering relevant 2016 questions such as - Can Bryce get his mojo back? Is there a solution to the giant sucking first base hole? Is Espinosa's season dying on the vine? Will Murphy and Ramos ever stop hitting? Are the bursts for Werth/Rendon going to last? Who's going to be the big bat off the bench? How well does the talented, but slightly erratic bullpen come together now? What happens to Papelbon? Do the Nats keep stumbling with a starter every 5th day because they can?***
And answering questions not relevant to 2016 such as - How much money is Ramos going to get paid and will the Nats pay it? Will Murphy hit over .350? Will he win the MVP? How many more triples can Trea Turner hit? Will he ever get caught stealing? Can he win the ROY? How many Nats will hit over 15 HRs this year? Can the Nats get Strasburg to 20 wins? 25? Will he win the Cy Young? Will Scherzer lead the league in HRs given up and still win 18 games?****
It's fun times when you can do stuff like that rather than scoreboard watch incessantly.
*Some of you will cry "But you called it last year and jinxed the team!". Ignoring the fact that I don't hold jinx powers (at least not ones I don't use directly) this ignores the fact that my super early call last year was made with the caveat that the Mets didn't change their roster significantly. When they added Uribe and Johnson and Clippard AND Cespedes, that obviously changed the roster significantly. Does anyone think without adding those players they would have overtaken the Nats? I hope not. Also I'll note that I called the 2014 race on 9/4 and the 2012 race on 9/5 with no caveats. It comes when it comes, how it comes.
**Plus you can pretty much just spend your way to wins. Not playoffs, but wins.
*** Yes? No. Yes. Doesn't look like it. No/Yes. No one. Pretty damn well. Middle innings then dumped in a waiver trade. Yeah probably.
**** A LOT and no. No, but over .340. Yes! 5 more. Not this year. Have you heard of Corey Seager? Seven. Yes. No, but close. Yes! No and no.