As of today (8/26), the Nationals has disappointed all analyst predictions, fan's predictions and even underwhelmed themselves. They stand at 65-65 with 32 games left in the season. .500. Mediocrity.
I was underwhelmed myself and at All-star break, I adjusted my prediction from playoffs (because once you're there anything can happen. We have already experienced this) to above .500 record but missing the Wild Card. At this point, the Nats are on that pace but don't tell them that. They believe there is still a chance......for a Wild Card slot.
At this point, we would have thought Davey has lost the last of his coaching marbles and is ready for retirement. I would be thinking this until I remember there are two Wildcard slots. This is the Wild Card picture today (http://espn.go.com/mlb/standings/_/type/wild-card).
In long form:
*Pittsburgh, St. Louis: 76-54 (Battling between NL Central title, WC slot)
*Cincinnati: 74-57 (holds a WC slot)
Arizona: 66-63, 6.5 GB
Washington: 65-65, 8 GB
Let's me explain my encouraging optimistic view. The NL Central is stacked this season that is about to change. At first glance, it is practically impossible for three teams in the division to be this good without facing each other, and they haven't. Currently St. Louis is beating Cincinnati which is helping our cause. Despite the disappointments, starting pitching regression and bullpen drama/woes (you're preference), we are still 8 games back of the final WC(smaller when the article is posted) with 32 games left. So...................
................there's a shot. Statistically, a 4.1% but that should increase if the team keeps the mindset of just winning. I'll list a few reason why we can sneak into a WC slot:
-As previously mentioned, the NL Central is too stacked for three teams to make it in the playoffs. Each of the three teas would have to face off with each other at at least which could considerably shorten the distance between them. Among the in-fighting, someone has to fall (I hope its Cincinnati).
-We don't have to win 98 games to get into the playoffs. We may not have to win 90 but it is a good benchmark to strive for (need to win 25 games which means a 78% winning percentage starting today. Seemingly unobtainable bu this is baseball). The Cardinals threaten at a chance of the World Series winning 88 games (winning 23 out of 32 games, 72% winning percentage). 85 wins sounds like enough wins to make it but this year is tougher than others, so let's go for 88-90.
-Almost all division games from here, literally (Washington Nationals schedule). This could either propel us or completely knock us out of the race. We only have one series against the Braves @ home and unless they choke between here and then, the NL East crown is theirs (I'm optimistic, not delusional).
-Also our last two series could also be a season breaker where we face St. Louis and Arizona on the road. This is will be a tough two series as if we are still in the WC hunt will have playoff implications. We are 1.5 GB back of Arizona and anything to propel us ahead of them would be for the better. It could be a scenario where we are racing against Cincinnati, Arizona for the last slot of WC buy Mid-September. Not ideal but I would take it.
However, none of this would matter if WE DON'T WIN. Aside from the craziness via national media and what not, this team needs to be on a one track mindset to win until the season is over. Forget the pundits, forget Kilgore, forget the fair-weathered fans (who has probably jumped on the Pirates or Dodgers bandwagon. WIN. This will actually make us a better team. We were on top for almost the entire 2012 season. This will be a telling month on whether our team has enough fight in them to make something out of what could have been a worse season. Haren has given up (although his overall ERA may say otherwise), Werth hasn't (On fire in all batting stats since All-Star break) and most if not all of the team see's there is a sliver of a chance.
No More Losing Streaks,
No More "Well Shucks, we'll get it next time" attitude,
Nothing worse than a team to see a glimmer of light only to give up and say it's too far away.