Jul 18, 2013, 10:00 AM EST
And so we have reached the unofficial second half of the season, which this year amounts to a 67-game sprint to the finish line for a Nationals club that cannot afford a single slip-up along the way.
The Nats have already used up all their mulligans for 2013, slogging their way into the All-Star break with a 48-47 record that falls well below Opening Day expectations but still leaves them with an opportunity to play meaningful baseball right through September and perhaps into October.
What has to happen between now and then to make that reality? And what else should we keep an eye on over the remainder of the season? Let's count down the five biggest second-half storylines for the Nationals…
5. STRASBURG'S FIRST FULL SEASON
Remember the sideshow that was the Great Stephen Strasburg Shutdown of September 2012? (How could anyone forget, even if they tried in desperation to erase those images?) Well, the goodRead more »
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
ON THE RADIO
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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- Ian Desmond discusses team expectations and future with Nats
- Eventful BP for Harper, update on Werth in Tuesday's workout
- Desmond, Rendon like what they see from Zimmerman at 1B
- Scherzer to start exhibition opener vs. Mets
- Bryce Harper does a pretty epic videobomb on Anthony Rendon
- ESPN throws shade on Nats' jerseys, calling them among worst in MLB
- On the cusp of majors, Taylor bides his time
- Mets pitcher really, really does not like defensive shifts
- Dodgers sign former Phillies free agent bust
- Nats sign son of MLB legend to minor-league deal