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Best in the bigs

Oct 3, 2012, 11:31 PM EDT

Associated Press photo
Adam LaRoche tosses goodies to fans behind the Nationals dugout after the game.

The Washington Nationals — who never posted a winning record, never reached the playoffs and never won a division title in their first seven seasons in the District — didn’t just knock down all those barriers in year eight. They managed to knock down an even bigger one: Posting the best record in the major leagues.

With a 5-1 victory over the Phillies during Wednesday’s regular-season finale, the Nationals capped off a 98-64 season that wasn’t surpassed by any other franchise in the big leagues and was good enough to secure home-field advantage as long as their playoff run extends.

No matter how much optimism surrounded the organization when it gathered in Viera, Fla., in late February for spring training, few could have dreamed this big.

“It’s quite an accomplishment,” Ryan Zimmerman, the only player to appear in a game in all eight of the Nationals seasons, said. “Obviously winning the division was a goal, and now we’ve done that, and we have a chance to go do some stuff in the playoffs. This is a great season, a great team, a good group of guys, and we accomplished a lot that we should be proud of. But we have a lot more to accomplish, hopefully.”

They’ll wipe the slate clean and begin that journey Sunday, on the road for Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the winner of Friday’s winner-take-all Wild Card game between the Braves and Cardinals.
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122 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. MicheleS - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:37 PM

    We have only a few days to savor this. Let's enjoy it. We need 11 more wins.

  2. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:38 PM

    And if Cincinati is able to win tonite and tie the Nats 98 wins, they will have done it in a division that has two 100+ loss teams.

  3. MicheleS - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    Gosh the Red Sox really stink

  4. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    Saturday's a travel day, right?

  5. Gonat - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    From Kilgore: This week, the Nationals extended the invitation to Robinson, now an official with the commissioner’s office. The Nationals had offered him other chances to return, and he always declined. This time, he accepted._____________________________Interesting revelation that the Nats have offered Frank other chances to return, and he always declined.

  6. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    Robinson's obdurance, to use a polite word, has been noted in the past.

  7. Positively Half St. - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:57 PM

    Another facet to the team's success was illustrated today. The ESPN Magazine DC Issue cited Billy Beane praising Mike Rizzo as a GM who didn't require a zero-sum game in which your team wins and the other loses a trade. Today Oakland won the AL West, and has a chance for the top seed in the AL. The Gio trade was a boon to both teams, and a credit to both GMs. It would be a hoot to face them in the World Series.+1/2St.

  8. MicheleS - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:03 AM

    How amazing would this be:Susan Slusser‏@susanslusserMelvin confirms what Brandon McCarthy told me yesterday: McCarthy might be able to pitch in the postseason at some point. #Athletics

  9. Gonat - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    I am hoping for A's – Nats in the World Series and of course the Whorioles elimination on Friday!

  10. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:10 AM

    Question for JRoll–how does the Phillies being healthy help the Braves finish in first?

  11. Gonat - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:12 AM

    NatsLady said… MicheleS, he didn't SAY anything. He just pitched like sh@t until Cholly took him out. October 03, 2012 7:37 PM _______________________________I think many here are feeling a relaxation they haven't felt in a while.NatsLady dropping the SH@T bomb on the Phoolies is awesome!

  12. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:15 AM

    I am going to sleep well tonight. Watching MLB Network and they are saying Bobby Valentine is being fired.

  13. natsfan1a - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:18 AM

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  14. natsfan1a - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:20 AM

    Just got home, as we went out to dinner with some friends after. Fun game, and a little bonus to see the Phillies end their (11, was it?) consecutive winning seasons streak. I suppose *that* made Cholly mad, too. Whatever, dude. ;-)Going to try to wind down now, so will read all the posts and comments later.

  15. baseballswami - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    I am feeling more relaxed than I have in a long, long time. And we went straight from our last game to an exciting, come-from-behind, underdog-wins game. I don't think anything can top game 162 in 2011, but the A's win is pretty cool. As for the foolies? They have turned into a low-class operation. It will be interesting to see where they go from here. As for tonight — how can you cheer for the yankees or the red sox? Yawn.

  16. Feel Wood - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    When a manager has a numb leg, he gets to leave the bench during a game to receive medical treatment. When a manager has a numb head, he gets fired.

  17. fast eddie - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:23 AM

    Listening to Atlanta sports talk radio, the analysts stated that the Barves would prefer playing the Nats vs. the Reds:1) they know us better after playing 18 games2) they think Clip has been shaky and Chapman is a much better closer3) Desmond and Espi have hurt the Barves but both are in slumps lately4) they swept us recently in Atlanta which may give them a mental edge(Don't shoot the messenger)

  18. Gonat - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:29 AM

    fast eddie said… Listening to Atlanta sports talk radio, the analysts stated that the Barves would prefer playing the Nats vs. the Reds:1) they know us better after playing 18 games2) they think Clip has been shaky and Chapman is a much better closer3) Desmond and Espi have hurt the Barves but both are in slumps lately4) they swept us recently in Atlanta which may give them a mental edge(Don't shoot the messenger) October 03, 2012 8:23 PM _______________________________We won't shoot you but its laughable. Desi is exhausted, clearly. Espi swings for 600 feet and usually gets air but that's him. Sure, Clip isn't Chapman and Chapman isn't Clip.They will spend Medlen on Friday and I hope the Cardinals win so they can STICK IT!!!!!!!!

  19. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:30 AM

    Listening to Atlanta sports talk radio, the analysts stated that the Barves would prefer playing the Nats vs. the RedsEddie, they can opine all they like, it has no effect on the outcome.

  20. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:33 AM

    I mean, for crying out loud, it's sports talk radio, for pete's sake. Who takes that seriously?

  21. MJR - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:41 AM

    Still grinning from ear to ear after today's game. Just such a great feeling to have wrapped up the season (and the best record in baseball) with a win today (although Davey's disappearing act was a bit disconcerting…SO glad to hear that it's a manageable problem.) And how great that we didn't have to say goodbye to all our baseball season BFFs today. Instead, we could say "see you next week." Priceless! Thank you, thank you, dear boys of summer (and now fall).

  22. Another_Sam - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    Did insiders, or Mark's colleagues, post predictions on the number of wins this year? I think I was predicting 80 or 82. Boy was I wrong.

  23. Gonat - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:52 AM

    Who will represent the Nats at the All-Star Game?Mark Zuckerman (CSNwashington.com) — Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan ZimmermannAdam Kilgore (Washington Post) — Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Jayson WerthDave Sheinin (Washington Post) — Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan ZimmermannAmanda Comak (Washington Times) — Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan ZimmermannBill Ladson (MLB.com) — Ryan Zimmermann, Jordan Zimmermann, Ian DesmondDan Kolko (MASNsports.com) — Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen StrasburgPete Kerzel (MASNsports.com) — Ryan Zimmerman, Gio GonzalezBrian McNally (Washington Examiner) — Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen StrasburgCraig Heist (WTOP) — Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan ZimmermannWhat will total home attendance be?Bill Ladson — 3,000,000Amanda Comak — 2,745,670Brian McNally — 2,700,000Craig Heist — 2,550,000Mark Zuckerman — 2,368,914Dan Kolko — 2,280,000Dave Sheinin — 2,313,753Adam Kilgore — 2,226,652Pete Kerzel — 2,099,631When will Bryce Harper make his MLB debut?Pete Kerzel — May 6 vs. PhilliesAdam Kilgore — May 17 vs. PiratesBrian McNally — May 25 at BravesCraig Heist — May 27 at BravesBill Ladson — June 1 vs. BravesMark Zuckerman — June 19 vs. RaysAmanda Comak — June 19 vs. RaysDan Kolko — June 20 vs. RaysDave Sheinin — July 6 vs. RockiesHow many home runs will Harper hit in the majors this season?Craig Heist — 13Adam Kilgore — 12Pete Kerzel — 12Mark Zuckerman — 11Amanda Comak — 11Bill Ladson — 10Dan Kolko — 9Brian McNally — 7Dave Sheinin — 7How many strikeouts will Stephen Strasburg record?Brian McNally — 180Mark Zuckerman — 177Bill Ladson — 177Dave Sheinin — 165Adam Kilgore — 155Craig Heist — 150Amanda Comak — 147Pete Kerzel — 142Dan Kolko — 140What will Jayson Werth's batting average be?Bill Ladson — .290Pete Kerzel — .287Amanda Comak — .273Brian McNally — .272Craig Heist — .270Mark Zuckerman — .268Dan Kolko — .268Adam Kilgore — .265Dave Sheinin — .264How many home runs will Michael Morse hit?Mark Zuckerman — 28Amanda Comak — 28Brian McNally — 26Adam Kilgore — 23Craig Heist — 23Dan Kolko — 21Pete Kerzel — 21Bill Ladson — 20Dave Sheinin — 18What will Ian Desmond's on-base percentage be?Bill Ladson — .360Amanda Comak — .326Brian McNally — .325Pete Kerzel — .325Craig Heist — .320Mark Zuckerman — .318Dave Sheinin — .315Adam Kilgore — .314Dan Kolko — .310How many games will Adam LaRoche play for the Nationals?Pete Kerzel — 132Adam Kilgore — 130Bill Ladson — 130Mark Zuckerman — 127Dan Kolko — 125Craig Heist — 110Brian McNally — 98Amanda Comak — 91Dave Sheinin — 31Who will lead the pitching staff in wins? How many?Bill Ladson — Jordan Zimmermann, 20Dan Kolko — Gio Gonzalez, 17Amanda Comak — Gio Gonzalez, 17Mark Zuckerman — Jordan Zimmermann, 16Brian McNally — Jordan Zimmermann, 16Dave Sheinin — Jordan Zimmermann, 16Craig Heist — Jordan Zimmermann, 16Adam Kilgore — Jordan Zimmermann, 15Pete Kerzel — Jordan Zimmermann, 14How many games will Drew Storen save?Dave Sheinin — 40Amanda Comak — 39Mark Zuckerman — 37Dan Kolko — 34Brian McNally — 32Pete Kerzel — 31Bill Ladson — 30Adam Kilgore — 28Craig Heist — 28How many games will the Nats win?Pete Kerzel — 88Adam Kilgore — 87Dan Kolko — 87Brian McNally — 87Amanda Comak — 86Bill Ladson — 85Craig Heist — 85Mark Zuckerman — 84Dave Sheinin — 83

  24. Eugene in Oregon - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:53 AM

    Couldn't watch the A's game because of MLB.tv blackout restrictions, but what a story. Had counted on an interesting last night of the season involving the Yankees and the O's (and then maybe a playoff tomorrow), but the Red Sox have rolled over (again) and played dead (goodbye Mr. Valentine). Oh well. Will just enjoy the Nats status as the best in the NL and hope for the chance to travel to the Bay Area for either the NLCS or the World Series (or maybe both, if I can get away with it). GYFNG!

  25. baseballswami - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:57 AM

    Gonat – could you give us the answers? I know some of them but don't have time to look them all up.Also – the winners of each one? That would be very cool.

  26. Eugene in Oregon - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    Couldn't watch the A's game because of MLB.tv blackout restrictions, but what a story. Had counted on an interesting last night of the season involving the Yankees and the O's (and then maybe a playoff tomorrow), but the Red Sox have rolled over (again) and played dead (goodbye Mr. Valentine). Oh well. Will just enjoy the Nats status as the best in the NL and hope for the chance to travel to the Bay Area for either the NLCS or the World Series (or maybe both, if I can get away with it). GYFNG!

  27. Gonat - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:02 AM

    Mark Zuckerman — 2,368,914________________________________Mark nailed the attendence and may have bought tickets to get that number. Final # is 2,370,794.Mark missed that by 1,880. That is unreal.

  28. Exposremains - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:07 AM

    Might have been mentioned already but I read that the As overcame being down 5 games with 9 to play. Wasn't that exactly the situation between the Nats and Braves with 9 to play. Everybody said it cant be done, it never happened in the history of Baseball. I'm glad the Nats pulled it off because it ain't over until…

  29. alm - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:08 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:09 AM

    When will Bryce Harper make his MLB debut?April 28How many home runs will Harper hit in the majors this season?22How many strikeouts will Stephen Strasburg record?197What will Jayson Werth's batting average be?.297How many home runs will Michael Morse hit?16What will Ian Desmond's on-base percentage be?.333How many games will Adam LaRoche play for the Nationals?154Who will lead the pitching staff in wins? How many?Gio, 21How many games will Drew Storen save?4How many games will the Nats win?98

  31. Gonat - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:09 AM

    Here's the winners:Who will represent the Nats at the All-Star Game?Dan Kolko (MASNsports.com) — 1 of 2Stephen StrasburgPete Kerzel (MASNsports.com) — 1 of 2 Gio GonzalezBrian McNally (Washington Examiner) — 1 of 2 Stephen StrasburgWhat will total home attendance be?Mark Zuckerman — 2,368,914When will Bryce Harper make his MLB debut?Pete Kerzel — May 6 vs. PhilliesHow many home runs will Harper hit in the majors this season?Craig Heist — 13How many strikeouts will Stephen Strasburg record?Brian McNally — 180What will Jayson Werth's batting average be?Bill Ladson — .290How many home runs will Michael Morse hit?Dave Sheinin — 18 and the answer is 18What will Ian Desmond's on-base percentage be?Amanda Comak — .326 and the answer is .335How many games will Adam LaRoche play for the Nationals?Pete Kerzel — 132Who will lead the pitching staff in wins? How many?Dan Kolko — Gio Gonzalez, 17Amanda Comak — Gio Gonzalez, 17How many games will Drew Storen save?Adam Kilgore — 28Craig Heist — 28How many games will the Nats win?Pete Kerzel — 88

  32. Gonat - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:11 AM

    Sec, you have some correct numbers and some not correct, where are your numbers from? For instance Werth hit .300 for the season.

  33. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:13 AM

    I missed the ASGDesmond, Gio, Strasburg, Harper

  34. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:14 AM

    B-R.comEvidently they haven't updated for today's games. The Sofa regrets the errors.

  35. Gonat - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:19 AM

    And the winners are:Kerzel 3.33Comak 1.50Heist 1.50McNally 1.33Ladson 1.00Sheinin 1.00Zuckerm 1.00Kolko 0.83Kilgore 0.50 12.00

  36. Gonat - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:20 AM

    Sec, not sure how far its updated. I think Morse ended with 18 homers.

  37. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:31 AM

    Gonat and Sec, thanks. pathetic that the guy who wins the Media predictions is an Orioles guy. Kilgore and Sheinin not a clue.Ladson gets one right but still gets props for naming Desi as an AllStar.

  38. Gonat - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:40 AM

    Ghost, I think while Kilgore is lost much of the time he has written a handful of really good articles. I wish Boz had put in predictions. Next year I hope Mark distributes to all of us and allows us to make predictions by email prior to everyone posting to make it fair.

  39. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:44 AM

    Morse did finish with 18.

  40. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:46 AM

    OK, to be fair, getting those numbers right in early April is totally random. Getting them right AFTER the season is apparently harder than it would seem, too. **sigh**

  41. Gonat - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:48 AM

    Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa said… OK, to be fair, getting those numbers right in early April is totally random. Getting them right AFTER the season is apparently harder than it would seem, too. **sigh**______________________________________That is hilarious! I went through the boxscores and updated from yesterday.

  42. Gonat - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:55 AM

    UNTERP said… I don't know if folks are afraid to put their hearts out on a sleeve, but if you can't be excited about this Nationals team when can you?Oh, 2013. The Mayan prediction of 2012 doesn't guarantee 2013 will come. I believe most who have followed the Nationals have been so demoralized and who have been so accustomed to losing that fears cloud their hopes for success, so lower their expectations. Too bad.Signed93 – 69, all season… April 04, 2012 3:50 PM ______________________________This person is the big winner as far as I'm concerned.

  43. baseballswami - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    Thanks so much for all the cool info, guys! The number that has been buzzing around inside my head is 98, 98, 98. That is a HUGE number of wins. When I look at going from 59 to 69 to 80 to —–98? Who does that? The Nats, of course!!! I just can't seem to wrap my mind around it. And with all those dl days. Of course, some of those were used to stash Wang – days well spent in hindsight.

  44. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    "I'd much rather be happy than right, any day! How about you?"Hitchhiker's Guide

  45. Gonat - Oct 4, 2012 at 2:07 AM

    Orioles lost. They have to travel to Texas for the Wild Card and hopefully their season ends abruptly there.While the Washington radio and print media still kiss up to the Orioles because they have "customers" in the DC area that still like them, its not the case with Baltimore media.Me, I have no problem gloating.

  46. Gonat - Oct 4, 2012 at 2:07 AM

    Gotta love BullMoose“I think I said last year that it’s going to be tough to win without Teddy winning,” said Jayson Werth, who has been one of Teddy’s biggest supporters. “But I guess he was waiting for us.”

  47. Gonat - Oct 4, 2012 at 2:18 AM

    baseballswami said… Thanks so much for all the cool info, guys! The number that has been buzzing around inside my head is 98, 98, 98. That is a HUGE number of wins. When I look at going from 59 to 69 to 80 to —–98? Who does that? The Nats, of course!!! I just can't seem to wrap my mind around it. And with all those dl days. Of course, some of those were used to stash Wang – days well spent in hindsight. October 03, 2012 9:58 PM ________________________________Glad you brought up the rise to stardom for the Nats. 59 wins to 69 to 80 resulted in someone writing an article of historic rise and falls last year. Can't remember who wrote it as nobody but UNTERP predicted anything like 93 as far as I know and put it in writing.I thought 86-88.

  48. Eugene in Oregon - Oct 4, 2012 at 3:53 AM

    On the predictions, what they really prove is that you can't foresee injuries. Four of the questions were directly and significantly affected by injuries:– Michael Morse's home run total;– Drew Storen's saves total;– Bryce Harper's arrival in the major date (he was called up early because the Nats couldn't cope with Mr. Morse's absence); and– Mr. Harper's home run total (again, his early call-up meant that he had an extra month or so in the majors).You could also argue that the all-star selection predictions were impacted by Ryan Zimmerman's injury (and extended recovery period, even after he came back of the DL). If Mr. Zimmerman had played the first half of the season like he played the second (and like he started the season, before the injury), he might well have been an all star.

  49. do1teach1 - Oct 4, 2012 at 4:07 AM

    1. I predicted the Nats would win 96.2. No I didn't.A couple of notes as the season ends:1. This has been GREAT. I have LOVED it.2. Big love goes out to Phil Wood. No one has done more for the cause of baseball in Washington the last 40 years than Phil.3. I am sad to see the regular season end. Even with the playoffs at hand, I dread winter and no baseball.4. Jimmy Rollins is a graceless d*ick to say what he said. The Phillies are OLD. It was GREAT to be there and see the Nats take curtain calls with the Illies in the field, watching. It is SO far from when they ruined our Opening Day a few years ago.5. I pray the Orioles lose the Wild Card game. No Nats fans can ever forgive Baltimore for doing EVERYTHING THEY COULD to keep the children of the DC Metro area from ever having a baseball team.6. and final for this post: The Nats have MANY players who could go berserk in the playoffs, starting with the Number 1 (Big Games at Big Times) player of the last decade: Ryan Zimmerman. Harper will rise to the Occasion, so will Desi, so will Laroche, so will WERTH. There is NO ONE in the NL we cannot beat, and NO ONE in the AL we cannot beat.

  50. Unknown - Oct 4, 2012 at 4:11 AM

    Can someone explain how the Nationals have "home field" throughout the playoffs yet start their first series on the road? I'm not getting that.

  51. Eugene in Oregon - Oct 4, 2012 at 4:30 AM

    Unknown:Short version: Ask Bud Selig.Longer version: To accomodate the extra wildcard team and the 'play-in' game — both added after the schedule had already been set — the playoffs lost a travel day. Thus, for this year only, the division championships are in a 2-3 format (instead of 2-2-1), in which the higher seed has to start the series at the lower seed's home field. Some notion of 'home field advantage' is maintained by scheduling the final three games (if and as needed) at the higher seed's home park. No one (except the aforementioned Mr. Selig) likes it because it's a lousy set up.

  52. Unknown - Oct 4, 2012 at 4:34 AM

    If you haven't seen it, check out this 5-minute video on the history of the Nationals from the Post's website:http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/the-story-of-the-washington-nationals/2012/10/03/12bb812a-0d8b-11e2-a310-2363842b7057_video.htmlBrought back some great–and not so great–memories. One of the guys interviewed (either Chico Harlan or Barry Svrluga) said of Elijah Dukes, "He scared the hell out of his teammates." Jose Guillen. Lastings Milledge. Elijah Dukes.We've come a long way, baby.Farid @ Idaho

  53. Eugene in Oregon - Oct 4, 2012 at 4:44 AM

    Farid @ Idaho – Thanks for the link; nice video — as you say, memories both good and bad (some awful games and players mixed in there). Looking forward to the NLDS and NLCS (knock on imitation wood grain). Enjoy (I think everyone on the East Coast has already gone to sleep) and GYFNG!

  54. peric - Oct 4, 2012 at 4:53 AM

    Nice to see that Cincy lost that final game to their closest competitors in their division the Cards. The Nats stand completely alone at the top. At least for today and maybe tomorrow … And the Phillies are doing some house cleaning … meanwhile the Orioles are going to have a tough road to hoe in a wild card game against Texas. Oakland gets the well deserved rest. I hope they give out more details on Davey's back, I have similar issues and would love to know what the top sports docs recommend.

  55. peric - Oct 4, 2012 at 4:55 AM

    Pete Kerzel is an Orioles fan. I wonder what he predicted for them?

  56. natsfan1a - Oct 4, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    Carrying forward. btw, we thanked him profusely for Gio, and he thanked us for our young players and said it worked out well for both teams. :-)natsfan1a said… Watched the late innings of the A's game after we went to a sports pub for dinner with friends. There was a guy there in an A's jersey who was having a great time. Turned out it was his birthday. After the A's won, he said it was his best birthday ever. I told him I was saying the same thing on Monday, after the Nats clinched. So, do any Insiders have a birthday this weekend? :-) October 04, 2012 6:22 AM

  57. natsfan1a - Oct 4, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    Post of the Day. Oh, and don't panic. :-)Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa said… "I'd much rather be happy than right, any day! How about you?" Hitchhiker's Guide October 03, 2012 9:58 PM

  58. rabbit34 - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    I would love an Orioles/Nationals World Series. But, I think it will be the Yankees and Braves. Unfortunately, the Yankees lineup is too powerful to overcome. They will prevail and win it all. If the Nationals had the Yankees or Orioles lineup, they would be untouchable. So, let's wait 'till next year. GO NATIONALS!!!!

  59. UNTERP - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    Gonat said… "This person is the big winner as far as I'm concerned."Thanks so much. Every dog has his day. I wasn't thinking NL EAST Champs, but WC. I thought the 2011 team that won 80 wasn't nearlyas good as the 2012 team Rizzo put together barring unforseen injuries and that the pitching staff would be vastly improved with Strasburg, Gio, and Jackson added. Just didn't seem reasonable to predict under 90 wins…

  60. hiramhover - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Ahh, our daily dish of rabbit. Tastes like chicken, but much, much more bitter.

  61. sjm308 - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    Here we go again Rabbit – seriously!!!What starting pitcher of the Orioles would you insert into the Nationals line-up?If Storen is healthy all year, he has as many saves as their guy.You really want Pedro Strop over Clippard?You want Mark Reynolds over LaRoche?You want any of their re-tread 2nd basemen over Espinosa?You want Hardy over one of the best young shortstops in the major leagues?You want an unproven 20 year old who has never played 3rd over our best player?You want a re-tread (McGloth) or an injury prone(reimold) over Mike Morse?Now, the last three might be a little tricky because Adam Jones is legit as is Weiters and I think Markakis is on the downhill side of his career as well but still doing ok. I would take our 3 of Werth/Harper/Ramos-Suzuki but I am obviously biased. Just as you are obviously biased against the team you supposedly root for.When the Cards knock off your Braves, who will you jump to next?Go Nats!!

  62. Gonat - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    UNTERP, I never thought the team could produce enough runs to get to that level and you did. I was thinking mid-80's and thinking the Nats would make a trade-deadline move to shore up the weakest area. Funny thing is the team's shoring up came from within as guys got off the DL (Werth and Morse) and the only trade came after the trade deadline (Suzuki).

  63. Gonat - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    peric said… Pete Kerzel is an Orioles fan. I wonder what he predicted for them? October 04, 2012 12:55 AM _______________________________Something we can agree on. I have given him my thoughts many times on Twitter. He is bought and paid for by Angelos and his allegiance is first and foremost to Angelos and the Orioles.He still deserves props for this:How many games will the Nats win?Pete Kerzel — 88

  64. MicheleS - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    Rabbit.. Another reverse lock.. Thanks. Keep it up. Every playoff game for the Nats, I expect it.

  65. MicheleS - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Gonat..I like Buck and the players, but because of Angelos & the MASN Debacle (plus their announcers), I hope that TX crushes the O's and our out completely by 8 pm on Friday night

  66. hiramhover - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    sjm308He's talking out of his tiny rabbit sphincter. Fact, is hitting alone won't do it – Yankees are the best hitting team in baseball (going by wRC+), and they went down to the wire with a mediocre Orioles squad because their pitching wasn't there.The next 2 best hitting teams in baseball were the Angels and the Cards–one an also ran, the other a WC team.The Nats are the 2d best pitching team, and the 7th best hitting team. The Os are all the way down at 13 and 16, respectively.None of that's a guarantee for the playoffs, but I have to say I like our relative chances.

  67. UNTERP - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    GONAT, if I knew how good they would be I'd have a pot of gold. It all comes down to injuries and for real they haven't been injury free especially early with Ramos, Morse, Zimmerman. Had to believe that LaRoach and Werth would return to form and hope a couple of unknowns would surprise, Harper, Moore, Lombo, Tracy, Shark, Desmond. Really didn't see Harper having the impact he'd have. It has truly been a team success story…

  68. NatsLady - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Here are the platoon splits:ATL vs. RHP 64-37ATL vs. LHP 30-31STL vs. RHP 57-57STL vs. LHP 31-17

  69. Gonat - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    MicheleS said… Gonat..I like Buck and the players, but because of Angelos & the MASN Debacle (plus their announcers), I hope that TX crushes the O's and our out completely by 8 pm on Friday night October 04, 2012 7:51 AM ______________________________________Good points. Trust me, Buck is a total DBag. Good point on their announcers with their daily swipes on the Nats as they do so often. Its all an attempt to let their viewers know not to defect to the Nationals as Angelos can ill afford any more defections.

  70. Gonat - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    NatsLady said… Here are the platoon splits:ATL vs. RHP 64-37ATL vs. LHP 30-31STL vs. RHP 57-57STL vs. LHP 31-17October 04, 2012 7:59 AM ________________________________Thanks for that bit of news. Go Cardinals!

  71. NatsLady - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    BTW, Nats–vs. RHP 69-45vs. LHP 29-19

  72. Nats fan in NJ - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    What amazes me about this team is the strength of each position. When I go position by position, compared to the other teams, I can't feel we are outmatched. Yes, I like Posey and Votto, but you look at the overall line-ups, I simply see the Nats being stronger 1-8 than just about anybody else. Frankly, only the Cards line-up seems as strong and I wouldn't trade any of ours for theirs. AND, there is NO WAY I would have thought this back in April/May when our pitching staff was pulling us off to that amazing start. What a long way this line-up has come…

  73. original Nats Fan - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    after the agony of those terrible 100 loss years, I am so enjoying this year and this team. Who predicted the best record in baseball? Hmmm, don't see any hands raised. Just keep it up Nats, one game at a time. My birthday's next Tuesday. I know what I want as a gift this year. I've waited over 60 years for playoff baseball in DC, but that's only the beginning step. Just keep playing your game, Nats, and winning.

  74. natscan reduxit - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    … now we know the dates of the playoffs. But does anyone know the specific game times, or when they will be announced?Go Nats!! vs 2.0

  75. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    The biggest improvement between 2011 and 2012 was the runs scored per game. The Nats scored over 4 1/2 runs per game which was the gaudiest of goals.Who could have imagined that? And yes, the Nats far outpaced the Braves in team offense.Ian Desmond and Bryce Harper were the clutch guys this year.Again, I dont think you can quantify all the intangibles that Bryce Harper gave this team. Runs scored prior to Bryces arrival and after are vastly different. Coincidence?

  76. UNTERP - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Also, very, very impressed with Mark DeRosa. Saw an interview on him yesterday and can see why so many of the guys respond so well to his guidance. Gonna say this, he is brilliant…

  77. NatsLady - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    Also, here is the broadcast schedule. FP and Carp will be doing interviews, I guess (FP said he would be "around the games.") Charlie & Dave will still be with us… :)National Broadcastshttp://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/broadcasts/national.jsp

  78. NatsLady - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Pretty much as soon as the Nats won the last game and Mark put up the schedule (THANKS!) I began informing my students to look out for an email cancelling class on Wed. Oct 10. Now I hope for a few more things(1) No rain(2) My playoff jerseys arrive–I'd like to wear the one with the roster list(3) Nats come home 2-0 or 1-1(4) NATS WIN ON WEDNESDAYToo much?

  79. natsfan1a - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    On one of the broadcasts, they said that Bob, FP, and Kristina would be doing pre- and post-game shows. If memory serves, they also said that Johnny and Ray would be involved.

  80. Doc - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    The playoffs are like a new season.But the Nats led all baseball in Runs Scored vs. Runs Allowed–best predictor of potential success in the playoffs. The O's had like a 10+ season and the Nats were like +137. And our Kid is just starting to hit his stride.In other news, thanks Mark for putting Jimmy "I don't have to hustle" Rollins' remarks in perspective. Get used to it little guy–we're coming back next year, and the next few too!

  81. Joe Seamhead - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    I think that we will keep winning because we have a very good team, guided by the best manager. Seriously, this team wasn't good enough on paper to win 98 games coming in to this season, and that was before all of the injuries. The job that Davey Johnson did guiding this team maybe wasn't flawless, but it was masterful. I really think that every young man on that team wants to repay Davey for the confidence that he has shown in them, and instilled in them. I look around at the teams that are in the playoffs and every one of them have very good managers. I'm sure that most of the fans in their respective towns (except Texas) think that their skipper should be manager of the year, too. I know some of you never drank the Davey Johnson Kool- aid, but seriously can any one question the long view strategy that he took right from the beginning, and stuck with all the way through?

  82. original Nats Fan - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    @1aan hour show before and after each post season game

  83. Gonat - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    UNTERP said… Also, very, very impressed with Mark DeRosa. Saw an interview on him yesterday and can see why so many of the guys respond so well to his guidance. Gonna say this, he is brilliant… October 04, 2012 8:20 AM _________________________________Future 3rd base coach? You have to wonder!

  84. natsfan1a - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    Yes, ONF, that's what I heard as well.Speaking of original Nats fans, saw a gal yesterday with a nice homemade t-shirt. If memory serves, it said "Nats fan since 2005 —> 2012, Playoffs, Baby!" Well done, ma'am. :-)

  85. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    Thinking about how Lapin would make nice earmuffs for my girlfriend. The Nats lineup is not at all inferior to the Yankees.LF — Morse over IbanezCF — September Harper equal if not better than G'sonRF — Werth and Swisher a wash, tho I'd rather have Werth: this year he's been consistent, which you can't say for Swisher who's very streaky1B — LaRoche had a better season than Texiera2B — OK, I'll concede Cano's batSS — At this stage of his career, Jeter's only edge over Desmond is in girlfriends3B — Zimmerman hands down over RodriguezC — Martin is lucky to have a starting job in the majors; I'll take Suzuki, Nats edition Rabbit needs to back down the hole and debate with the Mad Hatter.

  86. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    In previous seasons, I would really get pumped up for watching the playoffs, simply because I love baseball. The intensity level that is reached in these special events is beyond belief.But now! Holy friggin' cow!

  87. natsfan1a - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    I was updating my calendar this morning and told my husband, I still can't believe that I'm writing "NLDS home game #1 – go" on it. Ahhh, life is good.

  88. natsfan1a - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  89. natsfan1a - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    Maybe we should all chip in and reserve an NI party suite for a game. I see on the team site that good suites are still available. :-)

  90. A DC Wonk - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    Hey, I was close!Back before game #1 I wrote:A DC Wonk said… I'm going with 89 wins…Can I claim that I was just being a bit dyslexic, and I meant 98? ;-)

  91. m20832 - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    What an Awesome year! But the Boys (and we Nats Insiders) want more! Like winning the next 11 games! :-)I don't like azzhat dud selig! I know it's a travel day thing (supposedly). But when you have the number 1 seeds have to travel to the wc stadium to play two games, what is the advantage besides pride to being number 1?I know it's a one year thing, but the Nats are NUMBER 1 THIS YEAR!!!!!GYFNG!!!!!

  92. Mississippi Snopes - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    The Nats don't have a player really performing at Cy Young or MVP levels.But their balance is impressive. They have five pitchers with ten or more wins (Gio Gonzalez 21, Stephen Strasburg 15, Jordan Zimmermann 12, Ross Detwiler 10, Edwin Jackson 10). And they have seven hitters with ten or more home runs (Adam LaRoche 33, Ian Desmond 25, Ryan Zimmerman 25, Bryce Harper 22, Michael Morse 18, Danny Espinosa 17, Tyler Moore 10).I wonder how many teams in baseball history have had five pitchers with 10 or more wins and seven hitters with 10 or more home runs? It can't be many.

  93. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    And under the previous playoff system, the 2 bird teams would be out, the Braves would be heading Cincy and the Giants would be heading to DC while the Tigers would go to Oakland and the Rangers to New York.With the new format the only scenario that could be the same is Rangers going to New York.

  94. Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    The Nats scored over 4 1/2 runs per game which was the gaudiest of goals.Who could have imagined that?I recall we discussed in here, preseason, their need to score more runs, or more specifically to improve their differential, by about 100 runs. I think that was you, Ghost, no?

  95. Brother Juniper - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    Lots of ways to look as a fantastic season. Here's one:5apr – 25apr 14-4 “The Hot Start”26apr – 3jun 16-18 “The Doldrums” (30-22)4jun – 21aug 47-24 “Our Best Ball”22aug – 28aug 0-5 “The Five Game Losing Streak”29aug – 12sep 12-3 “The Recovery” +35 games over .500 (89-54)13sep – 3oct 9-10 “Limping To The Finish Line”Over the Nats 8 years of regular season history:We finished over .500 at RFK (122-121)We are also one game over .500 at Nats Park (202-201)On the road through 8 years: 266-388 (it ain't pretty)One odd stat from this year 2012 – our pitching staff recorded 1325 strike outs – our hitters struck out 1325 times. I thought that might be a mistake, but espn and baseball reference both record 1325 for pitchers and hitters.

  96. NCNatsie - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    What??? No Nats game until Sunday??? How will I survive?

  97. Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Maybe we should all chip in and reserve an NI party suite for a game. I see on the team site that good suites are still available. :-)That's 1a, in the VIP lounge with the Dom.

  98. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    Snopes question I like. I wish we could find an answer.Good stuff from Juniper.

  99. Laddie Blah Blah - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    "Also, very, very impressed with Mark DeRosa."He looks like the same guy and the same bat we saw in ST. Could not happen at a better time.Maybe it's a coincidence, but, once again, EJax pitched an outstanding performance with Flo calling the game. If Flo gets a start in the post-season, it may be when EJax gets a start.The Nats have announced their final AFL roster, and Garcia is no longer on it. He will be on the post-season roster, for sure. Cole Kimball has taken Garcia's place. Matt Purke was not named. Whatever happened to that guy?How about them Oakland As, coming back from 13 games down and from 5 down with only 9 to play? And the Rangers, with one of the great choke jobs of all time? Remember, the Rangers were born as the Washington Nationals, skipped town, and have never acknowledged their DC heritage at old-timer games and retro uniform occasions.And the As have Tommy Milone, Derek Norris (another dinger yesterday) and Jonny Gomes. And we have Gio and Suzuki. It's like they are our in-laws.Hope they get a chance to stomp the Rangers again, and do it to them, even worse, next time.

  100. Mississippi Snopes - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    I love the 1325 number — told you this was a balanced team. The Post video is very good and it got me to thinking about the lowlights of the "bad years." They mentioned Jose Guillen, Elijah Dukes, Odalis Perez, and Lastings Milledge.But I think any discussion the low point of Nats players also has to include Nook ("What Was He Thinking") Logan, Jason ("Cussing Jim Riggleman") Marquis, Nyjer ("Temper Tantrum") Morgan, Jesus ("Human Rain Delay") Colome, Mike ("Groove 'Em") Bacsik, Kory ("He's Your TOP Prospect?") Kasto, and Felipe ("Your Expletive Here") Lopez as well. For me, the nadir has to be Felipe Lopez. It's a point of honor with me that I never boo a player who is trying his best and failing. I've booed Felipe Lopez many times without shame.

  101. A DC Wonk - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    But when you have the number 1 seeds have to travel to the wc stadium to play two games, what is the advantage besides pride to being number 1?Here's an advantage: if there is a game 5, it's in DC. Ditto with the other series: if there is a game 7 in the NLCS and WS: it's in DC

  102. A DC Wonk - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    With the new format the only scenario that could be the same is Rangers going to New York. The Rangers play in the NY all the time. Oh, wait — that's right — the NHL has a player lockout… ;-)

  103. NatsLady - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    The Braves plan to have 45,000 foam tomahawks chopping in unison when they face St. Louis on Friday at 5:07 p.m. in the National League Wild Card game … The first 45,000 ticket-holders through the gates will get a free foam tomahawk.I am officially rooting for the Cards to win.

  104. Natslifer - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    NatsLady – I haven't looked yet but where did you get your t-shirt with the roster list?

  105. natsfan1a - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Like the team needs to see a bunch of yokels flailing their flaccid foam hatchets to inspire them? Whatever, Barves fans. :-)

  106. natsfan1a - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    Natslifer, they're in the team stores.

  107. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 4, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    Brother Juniper bringing it! 1,325 K's and Espinosa unfortunately has more than enough. The pitching staff K's is what you would expect from power pitchers.

  108. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 4, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    NatsLady, go Cardinals!

  109. PlugNPlay - Oct 4, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    As a thought experiment to explore ways of communicating with football fans about baseball, I broke the Nationals season up into 18 sets of 9 games, and for each game gave the Nats or their opponent a field goal if they won by 1 or 2 runs or a touchdown if they won by 3 or more runs. The idea was to show that one game of baseball meant about as much as a couple of back-and-forth possessions in a football game, and that the margin of victory in a baseball game meant something over the course of a season.The Nationals went 17-1, and the one loss was by a field goal. They won only 4 games by less than a touchdown. For nearly the whole season they dominated whoever they played.Game 1: W 37-6Game 2: W 29-14Game 3: L 16-19Game 4: W 27-20Game 5: W 31-16Game 6: W 23-12Game 7: W 30-13Game 8: W 20-19Game 9: W 34-13Game 10: W 27-16Game 11: W 42-17Game 12: W 38-17Game 13: W 33-14Game 14: W 23-16Game 15: W 41-14Game 16: W 30-13Game 17: W 24-23Game 18: W 27-24Imagine if a certain local football team had been on a 15-game winning streak. This is why I think the Nationals are dramatically under-appreciated even in the sport, which means that we as a region have a whole lot of room to grow as fans.I'm ridiculously excited about this team.

  110. Steady Eddie - Oct 4, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    NL @ 9:49 — Word.Also fascinating R-L splits you showed for Atl, StL, and Nats. Clearly exactly what Davey saw when he said he'll pitch southpaws vs. Atl and righties vs. StL. Even more fascinating is they've succeeded by feeding on their strength (~64% wins), but are literally mediocre against their Achilles heel (.500 or slightly below) — whereas Nats are (if I may use the term) Steady Eddie against everyone — 60.5% and 60.4%. Along with the MLB-tops run differential, does give you strong hope if not confidence in the postseason crapshoot.Also an interesting statistical oddity that we ended up playing exactly the same number of games — 48 — against lefty starters as StL did, while playing in a different division, yet Atl faced 61 southpaws playing in the same division as we do. While you might surmise that people loaded up on lefties against Atl knowing their weakness, the reality is that before September expanded rosters there's not a whole lot you can do to tweak your rotation. Plus, if teams did that for Atl, why not for StL? Anyone have any functional explanation other than statistical oddity?

  111. Natslifer - Oct 4, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Brilliant stuff PlugnPlay – ironically the odds of your typical football fan being able to understand what you did are quite small.

  112. NatsLady - Oct 4, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    Here is the playoff jersey I ordered.mlb shophttp://shop.mlb.com/product/index.jsp?productId=15479556&clickid=body_rv_img

  113. Steady Eddie - Oct 4, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    New thread.

  114. TheManBearPig - Oct 4, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    "You want Hardy over one of the best young shortstops in the major leagues?"sjm, Desmond is not just one of the best young shortstops in the major leagues, he is the best shortstop in the major leagues, and it's not even close.

  115. slidell2 - Oct 4, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    It has been often said that good pitching beats good hitting. The team stats for those in the NL playoffs verifies that. In Batting Average, the playoff teams ranked #2, #3, #4, #9, and #11. In ERA, they ranked #1, #3, #4, #5, and #6.

  116. MicheleS - Oct 4, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    Just an FYI. for those of you on Twitter, some accounts have been hacked and Direct Messages are going out. If you get one of the DM's that says"Heh u didnt see them tapping you" Don't open it. Let the person know that they have been hacked. Change your passwords.SCNatsFan if you are under the same name on twitter, you have been hacked.

  117. m20832 - Oct 4, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    A DC Wonk said… But when you have the number 1 seeds have to travel to the wc stadium to play two games, what is the advantage besides pride to being number 1? Here's an advantage: if there is a game 5, it's in DC. Ditto with the other series: if there is a game 7 in the NLCS and WS: it's in DC October 04, 2012 9:42 AM But Wonk, That's a big two if's. If I recall, our boys were swept by the barves the last series in ATL. And lost the series to the redbirds in St. Louie.Seems to me the advantage is to the wc teams.

  118. m20832 - Oct 4, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    ooooopss…three big if's.

  119. Scooter - Oct 4, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    PlugNPlay, I think you've posted about your football idea before, but I failed to tell you how much I dig it.Great stuff! Thanks for sharing.

  120. rabbit34 - Oct 4, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    MicheleS…..Haha!!! You're the only one who gets me! Amazing how much effort they put into answering my posts!! Don't you LOVE the Nats!!!Go NATIONALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
WASHINGTON 78 58 -- 19
ATLANTA 72 66 7.0
MIAMI 67 69 11.0
NEW YORK 64 74 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 63 74 15.5
Through Monday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Braves at Nats, 7:05 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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