The Nationals at 100 Games
Every Nationals fan would have loved to see a sweep of the four-game series against Colorado this week, but will settle for three of the four because there is something bigger going on.
With the first game of the double header on Wednesday, the Nats had played their first 100 games of the regular season, which goes for 162 games. Do you remember their standings for the first 50 games of this season? On May 23, after playing 50 games, the Nationals had lost 31 and only won 19. Only the Marlins had a worse record. It was a record so dismal that the pundits were already describing it as a losing season.
But on Wednesday afternoon, at the end of the first 100 games of the season? Well, the Nats have been on a tear through their schedule since the end of May, and over the last 50 games they have won 35 and only lost 15!
It is one of the best comebacks in the last century of play—the Nationals are one of only two teams that have started so poorly and yet improved enough to post 54 wins, 46 losses at 100 games. That is quite a comeback! Go Nats!
How’d they do it? And what do they need to do to keep winning?
Well, they believed in what they could do—and they played like they believed. They reminded anyone who would listen that it is a long season, won or lost over 162 games, not 50. They took stock of what they had going for them and focused on winning the next game, always the next game, because that is how you put together a winning season.
The Nationals are reminding us once again of how different baseball is from the sports where you play against the clock, until the time runs out. There’s no clock in baseball—you play nine innings, top and bottom, six outs per inning. Games can be won and lost in that last inning (as we saw last night in that late inning loss to the Rockies).
Next up, Washington hosts the league-leading Dodgers for three games, followed by a three-game series against the Braves, who lead the Nats by 4.5 games in the National League East. So, it’s a big week ahead for the home team—how do they approach it? What do they do?
Nationals General Manager David Martinez knows just what to say, “You try to win the game at hand.” Exactly that. Go Nats!