Sep 23, 2013, 2:13 PM EDT
Six games left – Only six games remain for the Nationals in their 2013 regular season as they head to St. Louis to face the Cardinals, and then Arizona to play the Diamondbacks. After dropping a game against the Marlins on Sunday, it isn’t looking good for the Nats playoff chances. But that’s not to say it isn’t possible they sneak in. Technically they are still in it, five games back from the final NL Wild Card spot with six to play. Their elimination number remains at two which means they need some serious help from either the Pirates or the Reds. One win for either team combined with a Nats loss would do the trick and end their season, those aren’t good odds. Honestly though, with all that has happened this season for the Nats: the injuries, the losing streaks, the inability to score against anybody; they are entering their final week of the year still alive in the playoff race. That may not level up with their preseason expectations, but two months ago few would have predicted they would be this close.
Revenge against Cardinals? – Even if the Nationals are unlikely to make the playoffs, they still have something significant to play for this week, at least if you ask Davey Johnson. The Nats remember their heartbreaking loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in last October’s National League Division Series – and getting swept by them at Nats Park earlier this year – and would love to make the NL Central race for the Cards a little more interesting. As noted on Saturday in this space, the Cardinals have led their division for most of this season. Johnson believes it would be the “absolute worst thing” for St. Louis to have a mini-collapse and find themselves in the winner-takes-all wild card game. The Cardinals are two games ahead of both Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in the division, but the Nats can have something to say about that. They will also travel to St. Louis with three pitchers who have been on their games lately: Tanner Roark, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann.
Davey’s final games – Davey Johnson’s last home game as a MLB manager is in the books and this week he will coach the final week of his career. The Nats are 84-72, have six games left and Davey has said publicly his goal is 90 wins. Whatever their final win total is, they want to finish the season and Johnson’s career off strong. Davey’s hopes of riding off into the sunset with another World Series ring are remote at this point, but certainly has a chance to retire on a high note and with a respectable final season of 89 or 90 wins.
NL East Standings
NL Wild Card Standings
Offensive game of the week: Ryan Zimmerman 9/22 vs. Marlins – 2 for 4, HR, 2 RBI, R
Pitching game of the week: Jordan Zimmermann 9/20 vs. Marlins – 9 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, BB, 9 SO, 107 pitches, 79 strikes
Quote of the week:
Ian Desmond on the Nats posting a winning season:
I think moving in the right direction is something that we’ve all kind of looked past. 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.
Tweet of the week:
Saturday’s ridiculously long rain delay brought out the best from the Nats’ Twitter accounts, including this one from Bryce Harper:
— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) September 22, 2013
MON – 8:15 p.m. at St. Louis Cardinals (Roark)
TUE – 8:15 p.m. at St. Louis Cardinals (Gonzalez)
WED – 1:45 p.m. at St. Louis Cardinals (Zimmermann)
THUR – OFF
FRI – 9:40 p.m. at Arizona Diamondbacks (Strasburg)
SAT – 8:10 p.m. at Arizona Diamondbacks (Haren)
SUN – 4:10 p.m. at Arizona Diamondbacks (Roark)
NL EAST STANDINGS
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 12:35 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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