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 »
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2013 schedule (subject to change)...
TUE: 12:45 p.m., 4:30 p.m.
WED: 2:30 p.m.
THU: 4:30 p.m.
FRI: 12:45 p.m., 2:30 p.m.
SAT: 9:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com.
- Rizzo: Blevins was Nationals' best option
- Former Nats OF Jerry Hairston, Jr. retires from MLB
- Nats get lefty Blevins from A's for prospect
- Williams wants Davey to come to spring training
- Will Nats make amends for 2013? (VIDEO)
- Williams contemplates look of Nationals' lineup
- MLB to discuss home plate collisions at Winter Meetings
- Wilson, Blevins among Nationals trade targets
- Rizzo: Nats aren't trading Clippard, Storen, Span
- 6 weeks into MLB offseason and free agents are going fast