Aug 23, 2011, 2:27 PM EDT
Associated Press photo
Ross Detwiler allowed one run over 6 2/3 innings in last night's win.
It's been a while since there was any reason to pay more than scant attention to September baseball in the District. Over the last five seasons, the Nationals have entered the final month of play with virtually nothing at stake, aside from a bit of pride and the occasional late-season debut of a prospect (Ian Desmond in 2009, Danny Espinosa and Wilson Ramos in 2010).
Make no mistake, though: This September will be worth watching, for any number of reasons.
There is, of course, the pursuit of a winning record for the first time since the franchise arrived in town. With last night's 4-1 victory over the Diamondbacks, the Nats now sit at 62-64. Which means they'll need to go 20-16 down the stretch to surpass the .500 mark. This could very well come down to the season's final series in Florida.
The other compelling storyline that is beginning to emerge, though, is the battle for spots in the Nationals' 2012 rotation. There is plenty left to decide, and there is plenty of reason to believe September performances are going to matter in this race.
At this point, three starters are assured of jobs next year: Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and John Lannan. Strasburg (assuming all goes well over his next two rehab starts) will be backRead more »
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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