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.
NL EAST STANDINGS
THE BASEBALL SHOW
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 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: 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.
Follow us on Twitter
- Cespedes debuts for Mets, as Nats aim to even series
- Nats are in a real pennant race now
- Mets beat Nats 2-1 in epic game capped by Flores walk-off
- Nats' reliever to get second opinion on ailing shoulder
- Catching up with now-Mets pitcher Tyler Clippard
- Mets get Cespedes for big series vs. Nats
- Nats, Mets begin weekend series with first place on the line
- MLB Power Rankings: Hamels, Price, Tulo all get traded
- A formula that could work wonders for Nats
- Nats ride strong pitching to shutout win