May 11, 2013, 4:05 AM EDT
Ian Desmond gets high-fives after his fourth-inning home run.
Considering how much the Nationals as a whole were struggling to score runs not that long ago, the lack of both Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth from their lineup Friday night could easily have spelled disaster.
These days, though, the Nationals are getting contributions from just about every slot in their lineup, more than enough to overcome the losses of a couple of key starters.
So it was Friday that they pulled off a rather easy, 7-3 victory over the Cubs thanks not to the contributions of Harper or Werth, but of Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa and Kurt Suzuki, who combined to drive in all of the Nats’ runs during the club’s fifth straight win.
“It’s big when your 3-hole hitter’s out of there and you score a bunch of runs,” manager Davey Johnson said. “That’s big.”
NL EAST STANDINGS
x-Clinched division title
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
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.
Follow us on Twitter
- Post-clinch, Nationals rookies get chance to shine
- Nationals' backups fall to Braves in series finale in Atlanta
- Nats will keep playing, try to secure No. 1 seed
- Nationals going with all backups tonight vs. Braves
- Nationals' division titles are no small achievement
- Nationals Stock Watch: NL East champs have plenty of risers
- Matt Williams quotes Robert Frost in postgame speech (VIDEO)
- VIDEO: Nats celebrate NL East title with loud music, lots of beer
- Nationals players react to winning NL East on Twitter
- PHOTOS: Harper wears custom firefighters helmet to celebrate