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
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2013 schedule (subject to change)...
TUE: 12:45 p.m., 4:30 p.m.
WED: 2:30 p.m.
THU: 4:30 p.m.
FRI: 12:45 p.m., 2:30 p.m.
SAT: 9:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com.
- Nate McLouth gives Nats depth & insurance
- Nats still have things to do at Winter Meetings
- Napoli, Red Sox agree on 2-year, $32M deal
- Nats 1B Adam LaRoche to join USO Holiday Tour
- Carlos Beltran, Yankees agree at $45M, 3 years
- Nationals sign outfielder McLouth to 2-year deal
- Phillies looking to trade CL Jonathan Papelbon
- Mariners sign Robinson Cano to 10-year, $240 million deal
- Point/Counterpoint: How good will Fister be?
- Sean Casey: Doug Fister is 'huge for the Nationals'