Sep 11, 2013, 12:37 AM EST
NEW YORK — Yes, the Nationals know they have to keep winning ballgames, maybe every single one remaining on their schedule. But they also know they’re going to need some help from somebody ahead of them in the standings, so they fully admit to scoreboard watching even as they’re trying to scratch and claw their way to as many wins as they can compile by season’s end.
“I’m very aware,” Jayson Werth said. “I’ve been aware for, well, for a while.”
So perhaps just as important as the Nationals’ 6-3 victory over the Mets on Tuesday was the Reds’ second-straight loss to the woeful Cubs. Just like that, the Nats gained back a game in the NL Wild Card race. The deficit now stands at 6 games (only 5 in the loss column) with 18 to play.
Is it unlikely they can make up that ground over the next 2 1/2 weeks and somehow extend their season into October? Absolutely. But is it within the realm of possibility? Yes, it is. And nobody knows that better than Werth.
Six years ago, Werth’s Phillies trailed the Mets by 7 games in the NL East with 17 to go. New York, with a powerhouse roster, appeared a lock to win its second straight division title over a still-young Philadelphia club. That, of course, didn’t happen. Philadelphia swiped away the East crown on the season’s final day, and Werth can’t help but see some similarities with his current team’s predicament.
“We’re not there yet [but] I can see it,” he said. “I know it’s possible. I’ve done it. We can see it, but we know what we’ve got to do. It’s obvious what we have to take care of, and that’s really all you can focus on. You’ve just got to hope for the best for the other stuff, but I mean, it’s pretty obvious.”
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
- How much will the Nationals miss LaRoche?
- Report: Yankees tried to trade for Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins
- A reason for each MLB team to be thankful this Thanksgiving
- Who's better right now?
- Point/Counterpoint: Biggest threat in NL East in 2015?
- Nats' Fedde hits milestone in Tommy John recovery
- Charlie Manuel almost returned to baseball as O's hitting coach
- How much money can the Nats spend this winter?
- With Hamels trade rumors, Phillies are staying patient
- MLB postseason shares released, including Nats