After last night's 3 for 4, two home run game in Citizens Bank Park, veteran Nationals' outfielder Jayson Werth talked to reporters about keeping hope alive in the clubhouse, in spite of the fact that the Washington trails the New York Mets by 7.5 games with 17 games to play (16 for the Mets).
Werth finished the series in CBP 5 for 13 with four home runs, leaving him 19 for 63 so far this month (.302/.380/.635) with three doubles and six home runs in 15 games.
According to Fangraphs.com's Playoff Odds, the Nationals have a 1.4% chance of winning the division at this point.
Werth was, of course, a member of the 2007 Philadelphia Phillies team that went 13-4 over their last 17 games to overcome a 6.5-game deficit and snatch the division title from the Mets.
"We need to win these games," Werth told reporters, including MASN's Chris Johnson, last night.
"We need to win all these games. Pretty much the rest of the way, we're in a must-win situation. I feel good. I'm confident."
Did he share the story of the Phillies' miraculous comeback with his current teammates?
"They know," Werth said. "Everybody's aware. We've got to believe. And a lot has to happen."
The Nationals' win in Citizens Bank Park was their fourth straight overall, following their devastating five-game losing streak last week, and their ninth win in fifteen games this month.
Nats' skipper Matt Williams said he was happy with the results in Philadelphia.
"With the exception of the first game," he qualified. "The first game was back and forth. Big homer for Jayson in that game, and then pulling ahead again. They don't quit, they keep fighting till the end, so I'm proud of them."
Washington's win and New York's 6-0 loss to Miami allowed the Nationals to pick up a game, and Williams said he felt good going forward in spite of the odds.
"I always feel good about our club, always," the second-year skipper said. "I feel confident in anybody we put in there to play or that takes the mound. And we have to continue to play well if we're going to have a chance, so it starts tomorrow."
"Just got to keep playing," Bryce Harper told reporters after hitting his fourth home runs of the series last night which was his 40th home run of the season.
"Keep grinding, keep playing and keep winning," he said.
"We've got to come in here with the mentality to win ballgames and if our lineup does what we need to do, then you know it's going to be pretty special if we figure it out and win ballgames.
"So it's a lot of fun what we're doing right now and if we can keep it going, that's all we can ask."
Mets' skipper Terry Collins talked about losing two straight to the Marlins with last night's loss after New York won eight in a row last week, taking three from the Nationals in Washington, D.C., four straight in Atlanta and the series opener with Miami.
"I tell you what, I said it the other day," Collins explained, "we had such an emotional high going coming out of Atlanta, I think you're seeing just a little bit of a drainage on the system.
"So, if there was a day off coming, I think it's coming at the right time. I think we need to just get away for a little bit.
"We're going to come back, it's going to be pretty exciting starting Friday. We need to pick the energy level up a little bit."
The Nationals start a four-game set with the Marlins at 7:05 PM tonight in the nation's capital. They are just 7-8 against Miami so far this season, though they've won 4 of 6 against the Marlins in Nationals Park.
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