The Washington Nationals are playing their best baseball of 2019, which has helped to propel them into the National League Wild Card race.
After beating the Braves last night, and after losses by Colorado, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia, the Washington Nationals are firmly in the thick of the National League Wild Card race.
The Nationals sit just 2.5 games back of the second Wild Card slot (currently occupied by the 40-36 Brewers) and trail the 40-35 Rockies by 3.0 games.
The Nationals’ ultimate goal is still to overtake Philadelphia and Atlanta and win their fifth N.L. East title in eight years. However, with the Braves still 6.5 games ahead of Washington, the Wild Card is more than an acceptable consolation prize.
The Nats have won five games in a row and 18 of their last 25 games, propelling them into their current position. They have received help from other teams as well.
The Phillies have lost nine of their last eleven games, including six of seven to N.L. East opponents during that span.
The Brewers aren’t doing much better, losing seven of their last eight games and ceding the N.L. Central lead to the Chicago Cubs.
The Nationals success, and the struggles of other contenders, have created the perfect environment for them to move into striking position in the standings.
However, not everything is perfect. Outside of the two current occupants of the Wild Card spots, the Nats are also chasing the Phillies, Cardinals, Padres, and Diamondbacks in the standings.
As you can probably infer, only two games separate the Phillies and Nats, and everybody in between is neck-and-neck with each other.
The Nats do have a favorable schedule going forward which can help keep them in the hunt heading into the All-Star Break.
After wrapping up the homestand, and enjoying an off day, the Nats will travel down to Miami for three games, fly up to Detroit for three games, and then host the Marlins for three more and the Kansas City Royals for four.
It is imperative the Nationals build on the momentum built up at home and take care of business against the weaker competition on the horizon.