The Nats had a bit of a rough weekend, losing to their alleged “rivals” the Baltimore Orioles in 2 out of 3 games. And they had a shot to win it until Sean Burnett, who had basically been perfect this year (2 saves, 19 holds, 0 losses, 3 ER) got his first loss after a 2-1 defeat. So the last weekend certainly could have gone better. The last month, on the other hand, could have gone much worse.
On May 21st they had just finished up a series loss against Baltimore again, and we spoke about their upcoming schedule on the podcast. They were about to go up against a month’s worth of teams with winning records, starting with Philly (who was over .500 when the series began) and we said at the end we’d have a much better idea of how this team was going to fare. Well that month is over, and the Nats certainly seem to be for real.
They took 5/6 from Philly and Atlanta, got swept by Miami, split a 2 game series with Atlanta, took a series with the Mets, swept Boston and Toronto in Boston and Toronto, came home and got swept by the Yankees, beat Tampa and lost 2/3 to Baltimore. They went 17-12 since the start of that series against Philly, and had a series record of 6-3-1. Every team that they played had winning records when they played them, and only Miami and Philly are below .500 today.
It was a good month of play from a strong team, a team that is 3 1/2 games ahead in their division. If they go .500 from here on out, they’ll finish the season with 87 wins and a pretty good shot at the playoffs. Any better than that there’s a good chance they’ll win the division. Speaking of the division, they play 7 games against Colorado (who are struggling) and 3 against SF in the next month, but other than that it’s another 17 games against NL East rivals over the next month. We know the Nats are a good team after most of June – after most of July, we’ll know if they’re in contention.