Aug 28, 2013, 12:12 AM EDT
The Nationals are not keeping one eye on the out-of-town scoreboard as they stand at the plate, in the field or on the mound. They aren’t huddled around the clubhouse TVs watching pennant race games and living and dying with each momentum swing. Ask anybody on the roster how many games back they are at any given moment and you’re unlikely to get a correct response.
“We’re playing good right now on our own,” shortstop Ian Desmond said. “It’s not really up to anybody else besides ourselves. All we can do is go out and play, and the rest will take care of itself.”
Desmond is partially correct. The Nationals are playing quite well right now. Their 2-1 victory over the Marlins Tuesday night was their 12th over their last 17 games, easily their best stretch of the season.
But it doesn’t matter how well the Nationals play over the final five weeks of what has to this point been a disappointing year unless somebody ahead of them in the standings simultaneously falls apart.
That hasn’t happened yet. But if nothing else, the gap is slowly diminishing.
The Reds lost their second straight in St. Louis on Tuesday. All of a sudden, the Nationals’ deficit in the NL Wild Card race is down to seven games, six in the loss column.
That’s still a hefty difference to make up in only five weeks. But this race isn’t officially over just yet.
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