Sep 29, 2011, 1:21 AM EDT
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Stephen Strasburg was brilliant in his final start of the season.
What the Nationals have accomplished the last two seasons — improving from 59 wins in 2009 to 69 wins in 2010 to 80 wins in 2011 — is commendable.
Think about the state of this franchise just a few short years ago. The lack of talent on the big-league roster. The lack of prospects in the minor leagues. The lack of respect the organization got around baseball.
Now think about where this franchise stands right now, on the final day of the season. They’ve got talent up and down the roster, more impact players coming up the pipeline and the respect of people throughout the game who suddenly are talking about the Nationals as a team to watch in 2012.
And they have every reason to feel that way. This is a ballclub that made significant strides over the course of the season, finished on a high note by winning 14 of its last 18 games and has positioned itself to take another leap forward next year.
But for anyone who just assumes the Nats can make the jump from 80 wins to 90 (or whatever number is necessary to contend for a playoff
NL EAST STANDINGS
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
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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