EARN NL BEST RECORD
Before the Nats can march in the playoffs, they have to get there. The best way to give themselves breathing room in the NL Divisional Series is to grab the top record in the league.
No one wants another five-game epic struggle against the Los Angeles Dodgers or Chicago Cubs. The goal instead is facing a Wild Card team on short rest after they burned their best pitchers to advance to the NLDS.
Yes, the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies are better, the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins are not. Outside the NL East, there are plenty of chances to take two of three from the NL bottom feeders. With interleague focused on the American League East, there are no gimmies.
Instead, Washington must focus on beating the Pittsburgh’s and Cincinnati’s. The west coast trips are early this season, take advantage.
A huge problem last year, when the division was in hand, was focusing on individual milestones rather that team accomplishments by the old coaching staff. This year, set a win goal of 100 and check it off the list. That is a realistic number.
Remember, best record gets a potential Game 1 AND Game 7 of the NL Championship Series. If they win 100, there is a strong chance Nationals Park gets the honor of hosting a World Series opener.
With the Nats luck, they will draw LA or Chicago as the winning Wild Card. Or, they get the Mets. Remember, teeth gnashing is not covered by dental insurance.