First there are five reasons how the Nationals have weathered adversity:
- Winning early in the season while playing most of the first one third without much of the core of offense healthy (Morse, Werth, Ramos, Zimmerman).
- Not having the 2011 closer (Storen) for more than half of the season.
- Following the sweep by the Yankees with a winning series against the Tampa Rays.
- Losing the nightmare game against the Braves by blowing a nine run lead, but still splitting the four game series and going on to win 14 out of the next 19 games.
- Winning in August despite the backend of the bullpen having several rough outings, especially Clippard.
So it is no surprise to me that the Nationals record in August is improving from an already good record through July as only Ramos has not returned from the injury list, though Desmond's lose is significant. The Braves are hanging tough, but unless a Nats starting pitcher or two goes down, they do not have a prayer. Prediction: the Nationals will clinch the division title before the last seven games of the season and get home field advantage throughout post season.