Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Could something special be brewing in the nation’s capital? The Washington Nationals look like a completely different team during this five game winning streak. I know a five game stretch is way to small of a sample size to say they’ve turned a corner and will make a serious postseason push. But there are signs of life.
They’re finally hitting the ball as a team and giving the run deprived pitching staff some much-needed run support. That has been the issue almost all season long. Guy’s are finally getting clutch hits with runners in scoring position after struggling for most of the season. It hasn’t been just one or two players struggling to drive in runs this season, it’s been a team wide issue. At one point a few weeks ago the team was stuck in a mind-boggling 6-for-80 slump with runners in scoring position. You can’t win games with production like that! I’m not sure, but that must be one of the worst team wide slumps in MLB history.
During this five game winning streak they’re hitting .370 (20-for-54) with runners in scoring position. Now the early season bounces and breaks that all seemed to go against them appear to be turning in their favor. I’m not going to get my hopes up because this could turn out to be nothing more than a cruel tease, but something tells me it’s more than that.
Baseball is a funny game that can produce incredible swings in a team’s momentum in an instant. The bad thing is you never know when or if it will occur and most of the time you never see it coming. It just happens. A perfect example is the Los Angeles Dodgers who were left for dead and written off by everyone including myself when they were 30-42 on June 21. They were sitting in last place in the N.L. West and trailed the Arizona Diamondbacks by 9.5 games. Manager Don Mattingly’s job was in serious trouble and the team looked like a complete train wreck.
Less than two months later that same Dodgers team is 20 games over .500 at 70-50 and leading the division by 7.5 games. That’s an unbelievable swing in momentum, but it shows that it can happen. I’m not pointing them out because I think the Nats will overtake the Atlanta Braves in the N.L. East, but a Wildcard berth is still possible.
The Nats have 43 games remaining and trail the Cincinnati Reds by 8.5 games for that second N.L. Wildcard spot. They have their backs against the wall and no more wiggle room. They can’t afford to give anymore games away or fall into any prolonged losing streaks.
In my next post I’m going to provide you with more insight into how the Nats can still salvage this season over the next six weeks. It’s going to be tough, but it’s doable!