Aug 17, 2011, 3:47 AM EST
Associated Press photo
Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse scored four of the Nationals’ six runs.
The Nationals played their 120th game of the season Tuesday night, reaching the three-quarter pole of 2011 perhaps quicker than most realized. There are only 42 games left to play, but these will not be 42 games of insignificance.
With a 6-4 victory over the Reds, the Nationals improved to 58-62. There is an opportunity over the next six weeks to get over a hump that this franchise (in its current incarnation) has never managed to surpass: the .500 mark.
It may not seem like much, and truth be told there wouldn’t be that much difference between an 82-80 record to end the season and the 78-84 mark they would achieve at their current pace. But there is a sense within the clubhouse at Nationals Park that these final 42 games will go a long way toward determining how this team is perceived moving forward.
Is this a club ready to breakthrough in 2012 and challenge for a postseason berth? Or is this a club that remains another year or two away from true contention?
The Nationals believe their performance over the remainder of this season will help answer that fundamental question.
“The last couple years, we’ve done whatever our record is, but our last month and a half has always been bad,” third baseman Ryan
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