Jul 28, 2013, 11:20 PM EST
|USA Today Sports Images|
The Nationals returned from the All-Star break on July 19 with a winning record, a healthy roster and reason to believe they could take advantage of a long homestand to thrust themselves into the thick of the National League pennant race.
So what transpired over the next 10 days? How much time do you have to run through the laundry list?
The Nationals got swept by the Dodgers. Then they fired their hitting coach, against the manager’s wishes. They extended their losing streak to six games before snapping it on Bryce Harper’s first career walk-off homer. They got blown out by 11 runs in the first game of a doubleheader, then won the nightcap on Ryan Zimmerman’s ninth career walk-off homer. After which they sent their former closer to Class AAA, prompting another reliever to harshly criticize the organization. And then, just as their season appeared on the verge of disaster, they rebounded to win three in a row, capped by Sunday’s record-setting, 14-1 throttling of the Mets.
How on earth do the Nationals make sense of all that?
“We can’t get too excited,” center fielder Denard Span said. “We’ve been up and down all season. We’ve just got to stay the course, just try to win series. Definitely this weekend’s series was very important for us to win three out of four, especially after losing … six in a row. Just started off with Zimmerman getting that walk-off home run the other night, and we’ve just carried that momentum the last two days.”
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
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