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Game 159: Nats at Cardinals

Sep 30, 2012, 5:00 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Will the Nationals celebrate this afternoon at Busch Stadium?

ST. LOUIS — It's been 10 days since the Nationals clinched a postseason berth. It feels like twice as long. They certainly expected to wrap up the NL East title by now, but the Braves have had other plans and have stretched this thing out nearly as long as possible.

Today, though, when the Nationals take the field at Busch Stadium, they won't need to look at the out-of-town scoreboard. Their task is simple: Win and they're NL East champs. Yes, they could also back their way in if the Braves lose to the Mets in a game that begins 40 minutes before this one. But the players in the visitors clubhouse prefer it not come to that. As one guy said this morning: "We want to dog-pile."

So it will be a motivated group this afternoon, led by St. Louis native Ross Detwiler and catcher Kurt Suzuki (starting his ninth consecutive game behind the plate). All the regulars are in the lineup, another sign Davey Johnson wants to end this thing right here and right now, then give everyone a rest during the final three games against the Phillies.

Enjoy this day, everyone. And, of course, be sure to check in here for live updates and analysis throughout…

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Where: Busch Stadium
Gametime: 2:15 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, Ch. 50, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 187
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 70 degrees, Wind 8 mph in from RF

NATIONALS (96-62)
RF Jayson Werth
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche

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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 68 4.0
-------------------------
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 early 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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