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Slim margin for error

Sep 15, 2012, 4:25 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Andrelton Simmons celebrates after scoring the winning run.

ATLANTA — There were 41,000 in the stands, scoring opportunities were at a premium, the managers were trying to out-think each other in a late-game chess match and ultimately the outcome was decided by one key moment.

The calendar read Sept. 14. The vibe inside Turner Field felt more like October.

The Nationals can only be thankful the result — a 2-1 heartbreaking loss to the Braves — doesn’t count as much as some potential future ones might.

“This is playoff baseball,” said right fielder Jayson Werth, who certainly has experienced his share over the years. “Every team we play for the rest of the way is in the hunt and hungry, so these are the types of games we’re going to play for the next six weeks. We’re going to have some tests, and I think we’re up to the challenge. More times than not, I think we’re going to win that game.”
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  1. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 15, 2012 at 4:44 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Gonat - Sep 15, 2012 at 4:45 AM

    Tom Milone with a huge win over the O's. He gave up 1 earned run and induced 3 doubleplays.

  3. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 15, 2012 at 4:45 AM

    "Heartbreaking" ? Srsly?

  4. Gonat - Sep 15, 2012 at 4:46 AM

    Game ended on Derrek Norris throwing out the runner on a steal attempt.

  5. Laddie Blah Blah - Sep 15, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    This is the 3rd or 4th game in a row where Burnett has not pitched nearly as well as he had earlier in the season. The first such game was a blown save for what would have been Strasburg's 16th win.Going into his FA year, and just before the post-season, the timing could not be worse for Burnett. That elbow may be bothering him. If it is, it has to be taken care of. Last night's game was not as important as the post-season games will be.The Reds lost last night, so the Nats did not lose any ground in the race to have the best record, and home field advantage, in the NL race and playoffs.How about the kid? Medlen owned him the last time they met. This time, Medlen gave him a 4 pitch walk rather than pitch to him, after Harp had already singled and homered against him.

  6. rabbit34 - Sep 15, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    I can see Garcia as the Nats closer in the near future. Next year Zimmerman should come around more; strike out less; do more clutch hitting; improve his throwing; swing at first pitches instead of letting them fall in for strikes. We do have Harper, the best player in baseball. Just a little more giddyup and next year the World Series!

  7. baseballswami - Sep 15, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    A two- one game in mid-September that ends on the final play. When was the last time we got walked off? Seems like it hasn't happened much. We just faced Dickey and Medlen on 2 out of 3 games. Tough on the offense. We got one of those. Maybe the toughest pitchers in the nl right now. How cool is it that Detwiler is our fifth starter and was actually our sixth? Medlen is their BEST pitcher.

  8. baseballswami - Sep 15, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    And how cool is it that Harper makes adjustments so fast? He is one impressive kid. No fear at all.

  9. mick - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    Milone looked good for A's last night, that DP in 6th was huge.Also, with Cards losing is our magic number for wild card 5 or 6? anyone know?

  10. mick - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    never mind…. I see Mark has it posted, it is 4

  11. mick - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    Harper is DC's Jordan

  12. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    Some argument on Twitter, claiming it is 5.No additional teams were eliminated from passing the Nats by yesterday's games. It's possible to eliminate D-Backs, Phils & Pirates today.

  13. mick - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    nats lady…. you mean phils eliminated period

  14. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    And by fangraphs, Desi is the best SS in the majors. (Although some of the fielding stuff looks strange, hard to see Starlin Castro as 0.0 fielder, that doesn't meet the er, eyeball test).SS leadershttp://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=ss&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y&type=8&season=2012&month=0&season1=2012&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0

  15. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    Phils can be eliminated from passing us in the division (their number is 2). Phils number for elimination from the WC is 15.

  16. mick - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Oh boy…. meaning Phils hav a great shot of post season

  17. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    Not really, mick. About 1 in 20 shot to get into the one-game play-in game. You betting those odds?

  18. mick - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    I have to say that as much as I detest the Phillies, Manuel and the management is excellent… most teams would have folded in August

  19. mick - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Natslady I would not bet those odds with my cash (ha, ha) but, if they are only 3-4 back with 18-19 to go and the Cards and Dodgers struggling, it seems those odds are better for them

  20. mick - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    of course my assumption is based on the Phils staying hot, if they cool off a bit then they run out of time, I get that

  21. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Here is the picture.playoffshttp://espn.go.com/mlb/huntforoctober

  22. mick - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    I will check this out, thank you Nats Lady!

  23. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    Fillies have 2 vs. Houston, 3 vs. Mets coming up (including Dickey). They could easily win 4/5 coming up. But then, Then they have 3 vs. ATL, 3 vs. Miami, and 6 vs. Nats.

  24. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    It's hard to judge what will happen the last week of the season for the 2nd WC race. If Nats have clinched the Division and ATL has clinched the first WC (or close to it) both teams could be swapping out regular players and playing to avoid injuries…Almost like the end of spring training. It is supposedly "not good sportsmanship" to play your scrubs if the opposing team is still in the hunt. My impression is Davey doesn't give two pins about that (see Unwritten Rules, Baseball). He will do what is best to keep the team healthy, rested and sharp for the playoffs.Also, there is not a lot of need for "setting up the rotation" way in advance because our last game is Oct. 3 (Wednesday). Game one of the NLDS is Oct. 6 (Saturday). If there is weather and/or tie-breaking games, the NLDS Game One could even be pushed back to Sunday or Monday. There is tremendous advantage to winning the division, that's for sure.

  26. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    Ask around amongst your friends, rich people. The Metro and the Nats are still arguing over the cost of staying open late on weeknights for playoff games. I figure $1million should cover it. Get sponsors– e.g., "UPS is TAKING CARE of Metro tonight for you NATS fans!!" That is peanuts compared to SuperBowl ads. Come on, let's do this.

  27. pk24 - Sep 15, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    A bit off topic (I figure there must be some Bruce Springsteen fans among the NI faithful); Turner field wasn't the only soldout Park last night. There were also close to 41,000 at Nats Park last night to hear the Boss. Quite a few folks in Nats gear (my spouse was worried that I would be the only one). Anyway, the Boss' opening line was "Hello Washington! I hear you folks have a pretty good baseball team" – which was greeted to wild applause. The show was pretty amazing – close to 3.5 hours with wild energy in the Park throughout. I hope we'll see the same type of atmosphere in the Park for the playoffs in October.

  28. 320R2S15 - Sep 15, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    mick said… Harper is DC's Jordan Love ya Mick, but put the joint down…

  29. natsfan1a - Sep 15, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Couple of questions: who is Jordan, and what's a joint? Nah, never mind. ;-)Haven't read the in-game comments, but how about Zuke nailing George, uh, Jose Constanza when he tried to steal second? As I said to my hubby at the time (and to quote FP) "that fires me up." :-)Great game and, as someone noted, it shows the importance of home field advantage (humph – stupid division series schedulers).

  30. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 15, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Jordan? Jordan Zimmermann

  31. natsfan1a - Sep 15, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    I don't think that's who he meant, as he said "DC's Jordan." I actually do think I know who he meant, but never mind. :-)

  32. JaneB - Sep 15, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    Any word on how Roger is this morning? He sounded pretty banged up last night. The video is pretty amazing, except for the end.

  33. Manassas Nats' Fan - Sep 15, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    Wonder which Fox team we are stuck wirh.

  34. DWS - Sep 15, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    One thing I can guarantee is that Strasburg will be mentioned. A mute button is a good thing.

  35. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 15, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    Buck: Chipper. Strasburg. Strasburg like Medlen. Bryce. Strasburg. Chipper. Bryce. Strasburg. Bryce. EJax

  36. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 15, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    McCarver: When I Was with the Cardinals, Bob Gibson pitched 200 innings.

  37. natsfan1a - Sep 15, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    McCarver: Harper plays too hard.

  38. Another_Sam - Sep 15, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    Say it ain't so: McCarver? Please — no.

  39. Another_Sam - Sep 15, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    I commend the NatsInsiders posting here. I've spoken face to face [remember that? the old fashioned, quaint way of communicating?] this morning with a number of fair weather fans who were somewhat dispondent about last night's game. To them I say check the standings, and see who is in first place. Then check the schedule; notice that they tee it up again this afternoon, with a score of 0-0. play ball.

  40. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    Re: Burnett. Last night's game was a pretty good time for Davey to see if Sean is OK. 1-1 tie away game, with Nat well up in the standings. Would rather know now than later.

  41. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    Here is a magic number calculator. Using Nats = 89 wins and Cards = 69 losses, length of season is 162, magic number is 5.magic numberhttp://www.delcochristiansoftball.org/ccsl/MagicNumberCalculator.htmThis assumes no tie. If you allow a tie, then the magic number is 4.

  42. DWS - Sep 15, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    I actually enjoy the fact that Buck and McCarver can spew about the Nats.Somebody's talking about them. Not saying I'm going to listen.

  43. natsfan1a - Sep 15, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    Per Mark's Tweeter thingy, Daron Sutton and Eric Karros have the call.

  44. Another_Sam - Sep 15, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    Here's a nightmare: You board a cross country bus. There are two seats open. One next to McCarver, the other next to Dibble. What do yo do?

  45. smurff - Sep 15, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    Hope something wakes you up?

  46. Scooter - Sep 15, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    Rent a car.

  47. natsfan1a - Sep 15, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    Throw someone under the bus?

  48. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 15, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

Archives

FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 96 66 --
ATLANTA 79 83 17.0
NEW YORK 79 83 17.0
MIAMI 77 85 19.0
PHILADELPHIA 73 89 23.0

NL POSTSEASON SCHEDULE

NL WILD CARD GAME
WED: Giants at Pirates, 8:07 p.m. (ESPN)

NLDS
FRI: Game 1, Pirates at Nats, 12:07 p.m.,
OR Giants at Nats, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2, PIT/SF at Nats, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (MLBN)
TUE: Game 4, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (FS1)*
OCT. 9: Game 5, PIT/SF at Nats, TBA (FS1)*
*if necessary

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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.
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