May 11, 2010, 3:40 PM EDT
NEW YORK — You may want to clip out the NL East standings from this morning's paper. (Or, if you don't get a paper anymore, just print out the standings off your computer.) This is a significant day for the Nationals, who at 18-14 are four games over .500 for the first time in 4 1/2 years.
The last time they found themselves in this position: Sept. 18, 2005, when their record stood at 77-73. Technically, they were still alive in the NL wild-card race. Realistically, all hope of a miraculous postseason appearance at RFK Stadium had been wiped out the night before.
Astute fans of this franchise no doubt remember the events of Sept. 17, 2005, a late-night game in San Diego that to this day still resonates as the worst loss in Nationals history. Despite their late-summer swoon in the standings, the Nats still found themselves 2 1/2 games back in the wild-card race. They were re-energized by some brilliant pitching performances from the likes of John Patterson (who out-dueled Jake Peavy the night before) and Hector Carrasco (the journeyman reliever who was pressed into emergency starting duties because the club had no reliable No. 5 starter at that point).
On that fateful night at Petco Park, Carrasco tossed six shutout innings, lowering his ERA to 2.01. Homers by Nick Johnson and Preston Wilson helped the Nationals take a comfortable 5-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth. All they needed were three outs.
And then it all came crashing down.
Jason Bergmann, then a rookie right-hander with one month of big-league experience, began the inning for Washington. He walked Eric Young to lead things off but rebounded to strike out RamonRead more »
NL EAST STANDINGS
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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
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