So, we’ve arrived at the last homestand of the season, and in spite of the obvious, (like the fact that Fangraphs.com gives the Nationals a 0.2% chance of making the postseason at this point), Washington’s skipper Davey Martinez talked earlier this week about continuing to play this thing out until they’re officially eliminated.
“We’ve got to win every one,” Martinez said on Monday.
“Bottom line, we’ve got to come back tomorrow, let’s concentrate on tomorrow. But we’ve got to win these games ... but we’re still in it, and I know those guys, they’re not going to quit.”
Martinez’s squad is 7-3 in the last ten, but with ten games remaining, they’re 7.0 games out in the NL East.
There is still baseball to play, however, and there are things to watch for over the next seven games in D.C.
Like ... how will fans react, and how will Bryce Harper react to what could be his final games in a Nationals uniform in the nation’s capital.
Harper, 25, has a .260/.513/.540 line, two doubles, four home runs, 27 walks, and 17 Ks in 17 games and 78 plate appearances in September.
Though we’re not in the “Oh, he’s definitely leaving!” camp, it could, in fact, end up being his last run of games at home in Nationals Park, as Harper acknowledged in an article by Washington Post beat writer Chelsea Janes.
Maybe Nationals fans can cheer loud enough to convince him to stay? Or maybe not.
Meanwhile, there’s also Anthony Rendon’s on-base streak.
Will the Nationals’ third baseman be able to extend it to 28-straight games tonight?
Rendon has put up a .352/.432/.593 line over the course of his streak, which stretches back to August 21st, with 11 doubles, five HRs, 15 walks, and 13 Ks in 125 PAs.
Also, how much Victor Robles will we see?
“He played really well,” Martinez told reporters during the series in Miami.
“Like I said, he’s exciting, he’s going to be exciting, he’s going to be really good. I like the way that he’s playing, I really do. He’s doing well.”
Robles is just 5 for 24 in 11 games (five starts) since he was called up, but he did connect for a big home run in Marlins Park earlier this week, his first homer in the majors.
“We knew he had some pop,” Martinez said, though he stressed that swinging for the fences is not what they want to see.
“Like I tell him, all you’ve got to do is stay consistent. I tell him all the time, I said, ‘Hey, stay up the middle of the field just like we do with [Juan] Soto,’ those things will happen.”
What else to watch? Will Max Scherzer finish strong after struggling so far in September to the point that he’s hurt his case for a third straight NL Cy Young?
What will Juan Soto do to strengthen his case for the NL ROY?
Will we ever see Michael A. Taylor in the starting lineup again (mostly so that MAT fans will quit complaining that they never get to see him play any more)?
There are still reasons to watch, see? Have we convinced you? Whatever. We tried.