The regular season is nearly over and the Washington Nationals have another chance to prep for the playoffs. Here is what you should watch for.
The regular season comes to an end for the Washington Nationals as they host a four-game set with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Although most attention will focus on the upcoming National League Divisional Series with the Chicago Cubs, there are storylines to follow this weekend.
The Nats have a chance with a sweep to win a franchise-record 99 games. Even a split of the four gives Washington an impressive 97-win season. Although they went 5-4 on their last road trip, the team won an impressive 50 games away from DC. They start the series at 45-32 at Nationals Park.
For the Pittsburgh Pirates, their season is over. Never a factor in the NL Central or Wild Card race, they visit DC with a 73-85 record with fourth place clinched in their division 16 games behind Nats NLDS opponent Chicago.
It remains unclear how much the Nats will play regulars or mix in their youth. If Washington wants to treat the first two games as playoff prep, Ivan Nova and Gerrit Cole provide top-line pitching to stay sharp with. You can bet Bryce Harper will start all four; whether he finishes is uncertain.
Outside of Edwin Jackson Thursday, the front three for the Nationals will finish the series and get full rest before their playoff starts. If Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg or Gio Gonzalez go over five, there will be howling from you and us alike.
So, with nothing to play for, there are roster spots to be filled, tater tot need eating and one last normal weekend in Washington ahead. Here are three things to watch for.