Sep 20, 2013, 1:25 AM EDT
The 2013 season for the Washington Nationals is on track to end without a trip to the postseason, as the playoffs are a longshot with nine games left and a five-game deficit to overcome.
But with Thursday’s 3-2 victory over the Marlins, the Nats took home win No. 82 and ensured they will at the very least finish with a winning season. It’s already the second best year the franchise has enjoyed since moving to Washington, D.C. and it’s not over yet.
Any other year and their 82nd win would mark a milestone, it would demonstrate the positive direction this organization is heading in, players would be happy with what they’ve accomplished.
Not this club. Not this year.
“I think moving in the right direction is something that we’ve all kind of looked past,” Ian Desmond said.
“I think at the end of the year last year when I went home and reflected on the season I think it didn’t really even matter how many games we won. We came in whatever place it was, fifth or sixth and if you don’t win the World Series, you’re really not doing what you signed up to do.”
The Nats recovered from a heartbreaking loss to the Atlanta Braves the night before to return to the win column in this first of a four-game series. They still haven’t lost consecutive games in the month of September with a 13-4 overall record.
Gio Gonzalez pitched a day earlier than expected due to Stephen Strasburg’s forearm tightness, and gave the Nats six innings with seven hits and two runs allowed. He fared well despite the short notice.
“I found out that information the night before,’ he said. “I was just grateful enough I didn’t go throw a bullpen and I stayed healthy and strong enough to pitch a regular game.”
Gonzalez gave up a run before recording an out in the top of the first and threw 62 pitches through three innings before settling in. He needed just eight pitches in the fourth and 11 in the fifth, allowing him to go six and earn the win on his 28th birthday.
“It’s always nice to get a win on your birthday. It’s almost like a gift to yourself,” he said.
NL EAST STANDINGS
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
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.
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