Every win is important, that’s why. They total them up at the end, and the team with the most wins usually ends up going to the playoffs. Other than that, however, it was important for the bullpen to cobble together 4 2/3 innings of good baseball. As you’ve doubtless heard, they did this without Clippard and Capps.

Those two guys have been their only truly reliable relievers so far this season, and that just isn’t enough. They can’t win with only two relievers, and in a 20 game stretch without a day off, that becomes even more apparent. The bullpen wasn’t great last night, it got very lucky or very good at perfect moments, but it wasn’t without its bad moments. The point is, though, they were able to hold a narrow victory. With only 2 runs to spare for much of the time, 1 run at times, they held.

That is important for the team – they know if Clippard or Capps isn’t available, for whatever reason, they still have a chance to win. It is also important for the batters. While they aren’t hitting that much at the moment, they can. But if they think that they can’t win close games, it could be harder for them to score an insurance run or two. When that leads to losses, Riggleman might not get the kind of scrutiny he’d get if those other guys blew a save. But it would still be his use of those guys that led to the loss.

What I’m getting at here, is a simple idea, but it’s important. Two relievers are not enough. The Nats got lucky with poor relief yesterday, but they still won. Without a few wins like that, the team isn’t complete. They need to win a close game or two, even with bad relief outings. Good teams do that. Winners do that. Teams that are in 2nd place do that. Without those kinds of performances, the team loses 100 games. No matter how they finish the season, this teams behaves and gets results like a winner. That’s refreshing and nice to see.

By Charlie