By: Patrick Waring
(Above Photo From USA Today Sports)
While many are enjoying their day off, the Washington Nationals are preparing to go to work. And work has to be done. Trailing the New York Mets (75-61) by four games, the Nats (71-65) host the NL East leaders for a three game series in The Nation’s Capital.
Most never envisioned the Nats to be in this situation before the season started. High expectations and predictions had the Nats running away with the division and a favorite to go to the World Series. Injuries, lack of production and questionable decisions have placed the Nats in this current situation. Still not the worst case scenario, but it’s go time for the home team.
Nationals Park will basically have a Playoff Series beginning today at 1:05p when Max Scherzer takes the mound against Jon Niese. The Nats don’t have to sweep the Mets (that surely would be welcomed), but taking two games would put them in a great situation with 23 more games, including another series with the Mets in October to finish the regular season. Coming up on the other end of a sweep or dropping two games could spell doom for Washington.
Speaking of sweeps, the Mets took all three games in New York the last time they faced the Nats July 31st – August 2nd. The Mets have been losers of three out of their last five games, but there shouldn’t be any lack of confidence coming from their dugout. Most of the current talk has been around Pitcher Matt Harvey and his innings limit after returning from Tommy John surgery. Harvey is scheduled to start next on Tuesday.
The Nats are currently on a five-game win streak and the hits have been coming. The team put together 18 hits and 15 runs in a 15-1 win against Altanta on Thursday. They followed that up with five runs on Friday and eight runs on both Saturday and Sunday. NL MVP hopeful Bryce Harper has homered in the last three games.
The Nationals are expected to have a sell out for today’s game. In what should be a playoff atmosphere, this is the biggest series of the year and possibly since baseball has been back in Washington. It’s time to go to work.
You can follow me on Twitter @WaringPatrick.