The 2017 Washington Nationals clinched the second of back-to-back division titles on Sunday afternoon, earning their fourth NL East title in the last six seasons.
It’s the seventh postseason berth by a D.C.-based team in 84 seasons of baseball in the nation’s capital following the 1924, 1925, and 1933 Senators, and the 2012, 2014, 2016, and now 2017 Nationals.
The four division titles in the last six seasons, as writer Alex Putterman noted, taking a bit of a shot at the Nats’ NL East rivals from New York, are as many division titles, “... in the past six years as the Mets have in the past 44 years.”
The Nationals themselves are aware that they’ve been a part of something special in the last few seasons.
“We’ve got a good process in place,” GM Mike Rizzo told MASN’s Dan Kolko as the Nats celebrated in the clubhouse in Nationals Park on Sunday.
“It’s a good group of guys, it starts from ownership on down. We all have some continuity here and we trust and love each other and you can see it here in the clubhouse today.”
Ryan Zimmerman, who’s been around since the lean days, and been part of all the NL East champions, talked about what’s been the most satisfying part of this year’s run.
“Winning,” Zimmerman said, summing it up succinctly.
“I think winning’s great, it makes everything a lot more fun. Especially going through the times at the beginning, but this a great team, a great group of guys, and this is only the beginning.”
And the four division titles in six seasons?
“I think the organization and the consistency and the depth,” Zimmerman said.
“Every year it seems like we have young guys come up if anybody gets hurt or people leave and [Rizzo] and those guys do a great job, and I think the core group of guys up here, we take a lot of pride in doing things the right way, and that stuff is contagious.”
Jayson Werth has been here for each of the division titles as well, though he’s working his way back from a shoulder issue right now, and he too said the chemistry with all of those involved has been a key to the run of success.
“That’s the one thing we’ve got going for us, we’ve got a great group of guys,” Werth said.
“We get along great, as you can see, it’s a great place to come to work every day, and I think that’s a big part of it. The nucleus of this team has been together for a long time, then you go out and you get guys like Ryan Madson, [Brandon] Kintzler, and [Sean] Doolittle, to bring those guys in, go get Howie Kendrick, this by far the most weapons and the most depth we have going into October, and hopefully that [bodes] well for us.”
“There are only three teams in all of baseball that have played .500 or better for the last six years,” Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies this morning, though after looking we only found two teams (the Los Angeles Dodgers and Nats) with the St. Louis Cardinals five games from joining that short list and New York Yankees three away.
“We’ve won four titles out of six,” Rizzo continued.
“It’s a remarkable run we’ve been on, and I’m proud of these guys, and there’s nobody satisfied just winning the division, we want to win the World Series, we get that, and we think that we’re as good as anybody in baseball, and we can win the World Series.”