A 2-5 road trip was not part of the plan. It left the Washington Nationals back at .500 (61-61) overall, (and two games under .500 on the road this season - 31-33). It took them from 5.5 back as they started in Chicago to 8.0 back in the NL East after they salvaged the fourth of the four games they played in St. Louis.
“We needed a win today,” Davey Martinez told reporters after the Nationals held on for a 5-4 win in the series finale the Cardinals.
“Get on that plane ... have a nice, happy flight, and come back tomorrow and be at home and get ready for tomorrow.”
Over the next three days, the Nationals play Miami’s Marlins, the only NL East team they are above .500 against thus far this season, at 8-3, while they’ve gone 6-6 against NY’s Mets, 4-6 against the second-place Philadelphia Phillies, and 7-9 against the division-leading Atlanta Braves.
Of course, 8.0 games out is not an insurmountable lead, as Martinez told reporters just the other night.
“I’ve been on the other side,” he said, returning back to 1993 and his playing days in San Francisco for an example. “We were 9.0 games up and the Braves ended up catching us.
Possible? Sure. Likely. No. Fangraphs.com’s Playoff Odds currently have the Nationals with a 20.3% chance of making the postseason, which is up from a few days ago (when they were at 17.1%), while the Phillies have a 62.1% chance of a postseason berth and the Braves are at 64.9%.
The Nationals have three more left with the Braves (September 14-16 in Atlanta), nine with the Phillies, including six before the end of the month (August 21-23 in D.C. and 27-29 in Philadelphia), eight more with the Marlins starting tonight, and seven more with the Mets.
Impossible? No. Likely. No. But that’s, uh, why they, uh, play the games, right?