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Looking at clinch scenarios

Sep 25, 2012, 4:31 PM EDT

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The Nats could clinch the NL East and eliminate the Phillies by Thursday.

PHILADELPHIA — And so we have reached the home stretch at last, the final nine regular season games of what has turned into a most entertaining and surprising year for the Nationals.

Much as they would have loved to break out the champagne bottles and plastic locker barriers during the just-completed homestand, the Nationals couldn't quite create enough separation between themselves and the Braves to clinch the NL East title yet. Thus, the celebration is likely to happen on the road this week, either here in Philadelphia on Thursday night or sometime Friday-Sunday in St. Louis.

Wait, you ask, don't the Braves still have a chance to steal away the division crown? Well, technically yes. But the odds are stacking severely against that happening.

The Nationals enter play tonight up five games with nine to play. The magic number is 5, so any combination of five Washington wins and Atlanta losses wraps this thing up.Read more »

  1. The Retired Journalist - Sep 25, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    Ryan Zimmerman's birthday is September 28th. Don't you think an NL East title would be a nice present from his teammates?

  2. SteveRep - Sep 25, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    I'm thinking it'll be St. Louis. Not sure Nats can count on Miami making much noise in Atlanta.Of the 18 results left (9 for WSH, 9 for ATL), Nats need 5 of them to go their way to win division outright. Braves need 14 of 18 to tie, 15 to win.

  3. bowdenball - Sep 25, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    I mentioned this in the other comment section, but it bears repeating: the Braves have not won nine games in a row all year. Neither have the Nats, for that matter.It's almost a guarantee that they'll lose one or two. Hopefully more. The Marlins will throw Josh Johnson at them. Nathan Eovaldi, who pitched eight scoreless against them just a week ago, will face them again. The Pirates might be at home fighting for their first above .500 season in twenty years in the final three games. Someone along the way will give us some help. Hopefully we won't need it, but it's still pretty much a guarantee.

  4. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 25, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    Mark Z. said…If the Nationals can't wrap things up by Thursday, they'll head west to St. Louis and bring the champagne with them. That would present a potentially bizarre scenario, one that could see the Nats clinch the NL East and the Cardinals clinch the Wild Card on the same field at the same time.How would that work? Would both teams dog-pile in the middle of the diamond? Doubtful. Whichever team won the game would likely get to celebrate, with the other retreating to its clubhouseHow interesting and sometimes its just a timing thing when you are waiting for the other team to lose but winning your way and jumping up and down on the field is a great way to celebrate it.Nats need to do what they have done most of the season and win series. Take 2 in Philly and take 2 in St. Louis and hope the Braves lose a couple this week.

  5. baseballswami - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    All this counting of chickens before they are hatched makes me nervous. The Nats have "gagged" away more than a few games in September. Anything can still happen as we all saw last year. I am officially on pins and needles.Every time I hear a national baseball person say that the Nats are cruising I want to throw something at the tv. We have not played our best ball in the last few weeks, to be sure. Hoping for some serious natitude at cbp tonight. When Det has his swagger on, he is one tough dude to face.And our hitters should know pretty well what Cole has in his bag of tricks by now.Go Nats!!!

  6. JamesFan - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    I look at it is this way. If the Nats only win 3 of their last nine and the Braves lose only 2 of their last nine, the Nats are in. I'll take those odds every time.

  7. MicheleS - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    Swami,, with you on this for the most part. Counting chickens is not something I want to do right now. I just want the boys to win games.That being said, I WOULD LOVE to clinch in Philly. In front of that cruddy fan base. BUT If it happens in STL, I might be at that game!

  8. mick - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    I got my Coronas ready for the celebration…. then again, whether they clinch or not this week, I may have to open them up on Friday, lol

  9. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    The Phillies lost 3 of 4 in Houston against all odds last week. That is the difference right now of the Phillies being in control of a playoff berth.The Braves seem to have a much easier path but 9-0 is unlikely and they don't want to go to extreme measures in pitching their studs on shorter rest and not resting Chipper.Like I said a few days ago, the Braves will go 7-2 or 6-3 down the stretch -BUT- the Nats need to go 4-2 in these next 6 games and take care of their own business and then wait and see what happens to set up next weeks finale against the Phillies.

  10. Shoshana - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    I'm with Swami. I *hate* all the talk of "If the Nats go 4-5, the Braves would need to go 9-0 just to tie". Well, I'm betting the Braves CAN run the table. The Marlins and Mets have both stopped fighting (except the Mets when Dickey is on the mound and they moved him to avoid the Braves) and the Pirates are pretty dead right now too. I'm thinking it goes down that the Nats have to win. Win the games and everything takes care of itself.

  11. mick - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    I do not think the Pirates will quit, they are like the Nats last year, wanting to finish with momentum going into 2013 with a 500 or better record

  12. mick - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    I agree, Mets have quit except for when Dickey pitches, Marlins, who knows the mind set of Ozzie and the team?

  13. bowdenball - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    Shoshana said…"Well, I'm betting the Braves CAN run the table."I'll take that bet. I'll even give you 3-1 odds. What do you say?

  14. Section 3, My Sun Monster Sofa - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. whatsanattau - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    Have a drink.

  16. whatsanattau - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    Dude, you can't pull the message back … :) … "have a drink" in reference to the missing comment. Anyway, no worries, be happy …

  17. mick - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    Section 3, My Sun Monster Sofa said…Gee, what a choice. "Have fun, or worry? Have fun; or worry? I'm so confused! Which should I do?"reminds me of this funny exchange in My Cousin Vinny:Vinny: J.T., I believe you and Lisa played a game of pool for two hundred dollars, which she won; I'm here to collect.J.T.: How 'bout if I just kick your ass?Vinny: Oh, a counteroffer. That's what we lawyers, I'm a lawyer, call that a counteroffer. Let me see, this is a tough decision you're giving me here. Get my ass kicked or collect two hundred dollars. Hmm, let me think. I could use a good ass kicking, I'll be very honest with you. Nah, I think I'll just go with the two hundred

  18. Theophilus T. S. - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    I doubt the Pirates have the pitching to "fight" the way the Nats did last year. Maybe win 1 or 2, but don't count on more. The Nats last year were straining to get to .500. The Pirates were 17 games over .500, poo'ed it away, and by any common understanding should be demoralized. The Nats need to take the next two series (at least 4-2) and then be prepared to finish the job at home.

  19. NatsLady - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    The Mets may have quit, but they just won four straight. I don't think Dickey pitched all those games…

  20. Section 3, My Sun Monster Sofa - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    Well, I thought better of it. If worrying = fun for some people, what's that to me, eh? I don't have to understand it.

  21. waddu eye no - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    Kill phillGyfng

  22. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Unfortunately, the Nats can't clinch until their games won and Atlanta's games lost add up to 5 and that aint happening today. So why all the prognosticating, surmising, postulating, anticipating, hand wringing, etc.?My enjoyment comes from watching the games no matter the outcome. It's why I've enjoyed watching this team for the past 7 years.It's why I'm REALLY going to savor the last 9 games of this regular season.

  23. SteveRep - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    The totality of the Nats' postseason scenario might not be finalized until the last game of the entire regular season — Cincy @ St. Louis, 8:15 p.m.The #1 and #5 seeds may still be in play.

  24. natsfan1a - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    Me, I'm loving this whole pennant race thing, both the highs and the lows. (Ohhh, so *that's* what it feels like.)

  25. bowdenball - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Theophilus T. S. said…"The Nats need to take the next two series (at least 4-2) and then be prepared to finish the job at home."You seem pretty sure the Braves are going to win at least 6 straight, and presumably 9 straight since you think winning four games won't be enough with the magic number at 5. Maybe I can interest you in the wager I described above? In fact, I'm happy to take the money of ANY Chicken Littles who seem to have no idea how rare it is for a major league baseball team to win nine straight games.

  26. NatsNut - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    Mick, LOL Vinny. I know I LOL a lot, but now I'm REALLy LOLing!

  27. snopes1 - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Thanks to the person who posted the link to Mark's compilation of pre-season media predictions. http://www.natsinsider.com/2012/04/2012-media-predictions.htmlThose are fun, but even more fun are the reader comments. None of us (it would have included me but I hadn't really figured out how to post here yet) predicted 93 wins. But the most fun of all are the reader slams of Bill Ladson for his insane prediction that Ian Desmond would make the All-Star team and have an OBP of .360 (okay, that was a little high as Ian is only at .340 currently). The Great Unwashed said…Funny how Bill Ladson is so optimistic in just about every category (Ian Desmond in the ASG?!) but he's bearish in the win totals department.April 05, 2012 7:22 AMSection 222 said…That's some serious Kool-aid being drunk by our favorite beat writers. Good for them. It must be much more fun to cover a team you are optimistic about. Some of the more amazing predictions: Ladson predicting Desmond's OPB of .360 and every single one of the writers picking Werth to hit over .260. Wow. And so many of them picked JZnn over SS for the ASG. Would they have done that back in January? I doubt it. I guess Spring Training means something after all.April 05, 2012 8:32 AMAnonymous said…Ladson is a crazy peron. Demsond makes All Star team and gets on at a .360 clip?? Only if Ian hits .320 and Reyes gets hurt and Tulo gets hit by a truck and Starlin Castro falls down an elevator shaft, sll of which I guess could happen.April 05, 2012 11:22 AMFS said…what did Mr Ladson drink before making these predictions?April 05, 2012 8:24 PM Anonymous said…I heard Ladson had a cold beer.April 06, 2012 8:36 PM

  28. Diz - Sep 25, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    If they win the East, they'll deserve it.The Braves are 11 – 4 against the Marlins and 10 – 5 against the Mets, but have won 10 out of 11 against the Mets if you take out the series on April 5th.And since Aug. 20th, the Pirates are 8 – 24. (A winning percentage of .250)With that schedule, the Braves are not going to give the East to the Nats and add to the fact we have lost 6 of the last 7 to Philly, it'll be truly earned.

  29. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 25, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    So much garbage that people just spout out. Short of putting a little league pitcher out there, there is very little the Braves' opponents can do to decrease their chances of beating the Braves. The random element in baseball is so strong that such scenarios simply do not play out. You could put a good AAA team out there and the Braves might very well lose two out of three to them. The Braves already lost big games against San Diego in August and then lost an extra inning game against the strife-ridden Marlins, after coming back from a 3-0 deficit in the 9th. The Marlins, who had nothing to play for, won anyway. Anyone remember the Nats beating the Phillies four straight last year, holding the Phillies down to only 102 victories?The 1964 Phillies lost a 6 1/2 game lead in the final 12 games and that is the most famous collapse in baseball history. Why? Because that is how unlikely it is to lose a lead as large as the Nats' this late in the year. If it happens, it happens, but it is hardly worth losing any sleep over, especially, since, unlike the Phillies in 1964, the Nats would still at least have another road to the post-season.People who keep putting out this notion of teams not trying at the end of the season are completely uninformed. If you look at the history of close pennant, you will see over and over that teams that have nothing to play for knocking contenders out of races time and time again. Most guys aren't going to be playing major league ball unless they have a modicum of pride.

  30. Candide - Sep 25, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    A few weeks ago, Cunegonde and I were speculating that they might clinch during the just-completed Brewers series, which woulda been great, since we were there Saturday (yay Gio!) and Sunday (boo sun!)And now we're going out of the country for two weeks and shipboard wi-fi is expensive. Dammit, who thought the Nats were going to be gunning for the division title back in March, when we booked?So we're pulling for a World Series 7th game, 'cuz that's the only ticket we were able to get, given our schedule.

  31. Section 222 - Sep 25, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    Thanks for the lengthy quote of my preseason prediction snopes. Yes, may I have another serving of crow please?

  32. Section 222 - Sep 25, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    With a side of my hat, please, if there's any of that left.

  33. baseballswami - Sep 25, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    I still have that long-term Nats fan fear of the Phils. It's ingrained but I hate it. We beat them in the series last year, then this year, when we are actually good, they seem to have our number. But when I look at our teams position by position, I see that the Nats are a better team. First base – ALR better than Howard, Third – no contest, Danny vs. Utley? Utley has the experience and the hitting, Danny now has the range and physical ability. Desi is now every bit as good as Rollins.Position by position, the Nats are better now.Our starting pitchers stand up also. Their catcher is a beast, I will give them that. Their outfield – Victorino and Pence gone. There is absolutely no reason why the Nats should not take care of that team. Surely the hitters have seen Hamels enough to at least scare up some hits and runs.Some of our guys – well, Bryce – seem to thrive on the loud,obnoxious environment. Werth owes them a little something, too. I hope they are mentally locked in.

  34. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 25, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    It is funny how people seem to expect the Phillies to give the Nats a hard fight, while the Mets and Pirates are supposed to throw games to the Braves, when basically, the Mets, Pirates and Phillies have all been eliminated already. Basically, things are set. The Braves will play the Phillies in the play-in. If somehow the Cards fall apart, then it will be either the Brewers or the Dodgers, but that is not going to happen. The Phillies are like a golfer who is 8 strokes down starting Sunday but with 15 guys separating him from the leader. There are just two many teams that would all have to lose for the Phillies to have a chance anymore.

  35. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 25, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    Braves will play the Cards in the play-in, rather.

  36. Section 222 - Sep 25, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    Since I'm so good at predicting, here's another one: The Braves aren't going to go 9-0. Or 8-1. Or 7-2. As I discussed yesterday, they don't have it in them to keep up the pace they've been setting, nor would it be good for their post season hopes to pull out all the stops trying. In particular, I expect they will think twice about running their top relievers out there day after day with the playoffs looming. Those guys need some rest to be at full strength for the WC and NLDS. So I think the Braves will lose at least 2 games over the next 6, which means the Nats only have to win 3 of their next 6 to be NL East champions by the time we see them in DC again.

  37. whatsanattau - Sep 25, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    speaking of old predictions … (puffing out chest): whatsanattau said… Desmond is not the best fielder ever, but his range is good and his throwing has improved (or maybe it was never as bad as it appeared when Dunn was the firstbaseman). Offensively he has looked strong so far. He will likely ebb and flow but 15 HR, 20 sb, and .340 OBP is not an unreasonable expectation for this year. His OBP has always been better at the top of the lineup – or more specifically, when batting with protection. I know it is de rigueur to criticize our own players to prove we know something about baseball, but Desmond is actually a valuable asset to this team… April 04, 2012 10:45 AM and … whatsanattau said… Desmond had OBP of .326, .328, and .331 July-Spetember 2011 and carried a +20 OBP when batting 1st in the order (i.e, his OBP was 20 points higher batting first). None of those numbers is .340, but all of them trend nicely and Desmond is still just 26. The assertion that he never hit that number at any level is completly wrong. (Just because you say it, does not make it true) he's had years of .357 (A ball in 2007) and .401 (AAA, AA 2009). April 04, 2012 1:01 PM

  38. Laddie Blah Blah - Sep 25, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    Here are some facts:On 9/20/1964 the Phillies held a 6 1/2 game lead with12 to play.On 9/22/1962 the Dodgers held a 4 game lead with 7 to play.On 9/27/2009 the Tigers held a 3 game lead with 4 to play.None of those teams won their league's pennant, or divisional title.The Nats need to win the 5 they require for the divisional title. None of those other teams thought they would lose, either, and neither did the baseball press corps, but none of those teams got the job done. You cannot count on the other guys losing, and I'll just bet that Davey isn't, either.

  39. Section 222 - Sep 25, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    I should have added: "We got this folks." If you'd rather be nervous and worried for the next week, or scared of the fading Phils, go for it. But we got this.

  40. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 25, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    Here's an early pic of the possible Nats Division Champs "official t-shirt". Bryan Scrafford ‏@bscrafford Here's a shirt for when the #nats clinch NL East http://twitpic.com/ay90ad

  41. hiramhover - Sep 25, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    LaddieThat's great. Now, go back over 50 years and count all the teams that had similar leads and DID make the playoffs. What's that? You're only interested in those rare examples that confirm your worst fears? Got it.

  42. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 25, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    Anything that goes down to the final weekend with 2 teams still in contention is an entirely different matter from what is being discussed by most people on here. If we get to the last series of the year and the Nats lead by 3 or less, than you start getting into the realm of mathematics where, although unlikely, things become possible for the Braves.You can't just jump there because by doing so, you are chopping six games off the schedule during which we would expect the Nats to play close to .600 ball. That completely alters the probabilities. If the Nats' lead is down to 2 or 3 by the final series, then I think everyone will be sweating at least a bit, but that is not where we are now.You can do the permutations, which are that hard since both the Braves and the Nats play close to the same percentage ball, but the general point is that mathematically, it is harder to lose a six game lead with 6 games left than it is to lose a 3 game lead with 3 games left.

  43. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 25, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    The other thing that has to be mentioned is that, let's assume the Braves tie the Nats, as unlikely as it is. Then there would be a play-off, which, of course the Braves would win, right? They would have the momentum, wouldn't they?There is no appreciable momentum in baseball and we have all seen that in the last week or weeks with the Nats making great comebacks only to lose in the 9th to the seemingly demoralized opponent, or the Braves getting 3 to tie the Marlins in perhaps the Braves' most import game of the year, but then losing in extra innings to the last place demoralized Marlins.

  44. bowdenball - Sep 25, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    Laddie Blah Blah said…"Here are some facts:On 9/20/1964 the Phillies held a 6 1/2 game lead with 12 to play.On 9/22/1962 the Dodgers held a 4 game lead with 7 to play.On 9/27/2009 the Tigers held a 3 game lead with 4 to play.None of those teams won their league's pennant, or divisional title.The Nats need to win the 5 they require for the divisional title. None of those other teams thought they would lose, either, and neither did the baseball press corps, but none of those teams got the job done. You cannot count on the other guys losing, and I'll just bet that Davey isn't, either."Here is one other fact: for every team that's blown a lead like this, there are literally dozens, if not hundreds, that held them. Sure, it's possible that the Nats will blow a 5 game lead with 9 to play. But it is very, very, very, very unlikely. Anyone who says otherwise is going against history and statistics.As a fan, I'm nervous about it too, because it would be so painful. But you have to separate the emotions of fandom from a rational evaluation of the situation. Three examples out of hundreds is simply evidence that something is technically possible, not that it's remotely likely to happen.

  45. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 25, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Look at the A's, Yankees, Orioles, Angels, Tampa, Texas and especially the White Sox and Tigers. These teams are literally seperated by one bad play.The Nats are in the post-season, none of those teams above are guaranteed anything as only 5 of those 8 will make it.In the American League, nobody has clinched although Texas is close to a guaranteed Wild Card.People in each of those cities are going nuts with possibilities.

  46. Theophilus T. S. - Sep 25, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    First, people hark back to the Nats 2011 drive for .500, which included a 13-4 run (not to mention and earlier 11-1 run), then they say the Braves can't run the table, playing nine against the Little Sisters of the Poor for the next nine days. Well, yes they can.I happen to think they won't. For the record, on the last post, I said: "I doubt the Braves have the pitching to run the table, Medlin notwithstanding. I also think he's far overdue for a pratfall. Nobody goes a year-and-a half without losing a start. I think they lose at least three." All it takes, in fact, is for the Nats to go 3-3 against the Mets and Cardinals, and the Braves to go 5-1 against the Fish and Mets and, then, there's an important series against Philthadelphia to be played. Justice Douglas is correct; if it comes down to the last series, anything can happen.

  47. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 25, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    I am more of a believer in bad luck than choking, but, if you want to try to decide which city is more snakebit in baseball luck between Atlanta and Washington, it could be a good argument.Atlanta needed to finally find itself in a World Series with Cleveland, just to win a World Series, against another franchise ever more snakebit than they are. By the math, the Braves should have won several titles in the last 20 years. They were like the Dodgers of the late forties and fifties, who also only one one title, and that was without all the extra rounds we have now. The Braves are hardly the Boston Celtics in terms of always getting the breaks.

  48. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 25, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    By the way, the AL Central is down to the Chicago White Sox (82-71) and the Detroit Tigers (81-72). Doubtful that the team that doesn't win their division will get a Wild Card due to they are so far behind the 2nd Wild Card by 5 games and 3 teams to leapfrog.

  49. bowdenball - Sep 25, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    Theolhilus-You are confusing "can't happen" with "very unlikely to happen."Of course it can happen. But it's also very unlikely. And every post in this subject needs to acknowledge that fact.As to your comment that if the Nats go 3-3 and the Braves go 5-1 it means "there's an important series to be played," well that's a little misleading too. If that were to happen, the magic number would be one. We can assume every game in those final series is a 50/50 proposition (they'd actually be slight favorites on the road vs. PIT but we'd be as big or bigger favorites at home vs an eliminated PHL team). If so, the chances of us not clinching if we go into the final three games with a magic number of 1 would be under 2%.

  50. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 25, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    The Cardinals have a 3 1/2 game lead in the Wild Card over the Brewers & Dodgers. The Cardinals are 5 1/2 games ahead of the Phillies and DBacks.The Cards have 8 games remaining.

  51. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 25, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    Even if the Cardinals were to fall flat on their faces their last 8 games, the Phillies still have the Brewers and Dodgers ahead of them and tied with the DBacks.I would almost say, put a fork in the Phillies. Those 3 losses last week against the pathetic Houston Astros really cost them.

  52. SCNatsFan - Sep 25, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    Lets win tonight and let the numbers take care of themselves

  53. Donald - Sep 25, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Tonight's going to be a hard night to reduce the magic number (or race for HFA). The Nats face Hamels in Philly while the Braves are pitching Medlin and the Reds Cueto. I wouldn't be surprised at all if the lead were down to 4 by night's end with our magic number still at 5. But that isn't a reason to panic. This is just probably the hardest night to gain ground that we will have over the rest of the season. If we win or the Braves or Reds lose, that's just gravy in my opinion.

  54. NatsLady - Sep 25, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    OK, I'm rooting for(1) Fish (can't believe it)(2) Cards to lose; Dodgers and Brewers to win. #2 because the longer the WC race goes on, the longer those teams wear themselves out. NATS TO WIN!!!!! If the Astros can beat the Fillies, so can we. Go for it, Ross.

  55. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 25, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    I think one reason why Davey is already mentioning resting his starters has less to do with rest and more to do with instilling confidence in the franchise (Montreal) and city (Washington) which have together had a grand total of one play-off series since 1933.He is sending a message that this series is over, just as he did after the Nats won the final two games against the Braves in August and noted how disappointed the Braves must have been.

  56. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 25, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    I enjoy discussing these things but I do note that coolstandings has the Nats with a 98.7 percent chance of winning the division.In the words of Homer J. Simpson, "I like those odds…."

  57. Diz - Sep 25, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    I agree Donald.You have to play the games, but on paper, and in Vegas, it doesn't look good.Philly's a -150 against the Nats and Atlanta is a whopping -270 to -300 against the Fish.For those of you non-bettors out there, that means you have to bet $150 on the Phillies to win $100 straight up. If you bet on the Nats to win, you will win $150.For the Braves, that number is crazy huge. Betting $300 on the Braves to win to only win $100? Wowza!You still have to play the games though.

  58. Section 222 - Sep 25, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    Here are some other facts:In 2011, the Yankees led by 5 games with 10 to play. The Brewers led by 5.5 games with 11 to play. The D-Backs were up by 5 games with 9 to play. In 2010, the Rangers were up by 7 games with 10 to play. The Phillies were up by 5 games with 10 to play. Not only did every one of these teams win their divisions, but they all increased the distance between them and their nearest competitor. And more importantly, as far as I can tell, since MLB went to 3 divisions in each league in 1995, not a single team that has led its division by 5 or more games with 9 to play has ended up losing the division. (The 2007 Mets' lead had already been cut to 1.5 games with 9 to play.) Obviously it's mathematically possible for the Nats not to win the NL East. That's why they still have a magic number. But with this team and this manager — we got this.

  59. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 25, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    But in fairness, did any of those teams have an injury as significant as the Nats did with respect to losing Strasburg for the rest of the season?

  60. Feel Wood - Sep 25, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    William O. Douglas Loeffler said… But in fairness, did any of those teams have an injury as significant as the Nats did with respect to losing Strasburg for the rest of the season?The Nats are 8-7 since Strasburg went down. If they can maintain that pace for the remaining nine games they'll be fine.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 91 64 --
ATLANTA 76 79 15.0
NEW YORK 76 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 81 17.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 85 20.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Sunday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (4) 91 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 89 67 2.5
y-ST. LOUIS 87 69 4.5
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 71 7.0 --
PITTSBURGH 84 71 7.0 --
MILWAUKEE 80 76 11.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Sunday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

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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