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Nats gain a rare game on the Mets

Aug 29, 2015, 10:57 PM EST

USA Today

Ten days over the course of a six-month baseball season is not a long time, but in a pennant race it can seem like an eternity. For the Nats, that’s how long it took for them to finally gain a game in the NL East on the New York Mets, who lately seem like they just do not lose.

But on Saturday they did lose, their second game in a row as a matter of fact. And now they face a potential sweep at the hands of the last-place Boston Red Sox. Their loss, combined with the Nats’ 5-1 over the Miami Marlins, cut the division deficit to 5 1/2 games. The Nats now enter Sunday with a chance to win their fourth consecutive series.

The Nats suffered a bad loss on Friday night, but here they are with another series victory ready for the taking. Winning each series for the rest of the season has been their mantra for the last several weeks, a message the team’s veterans have preached on almost a daily basis.

So far, so good.

“It’s the big leagues, you’re not gonna win every single game. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing the Marlins or the Cardinals,” Ryan Zimmerman said. “It’s not possible to win every single game at this level. We’re gonna lose. Just try and win series and go from there.”

“You’re not gonna go perfect in this game. You can’t expect to go out and sweep a team every single time you play them,” Clint Robinson said. “There’s gonna be losses and we’re not gonna win out the rest of the year, I’m sure. It would be great if we did but more than likely not gonna happen. We just go out and take care of our business.”

Before losing their two most recent games to Boston, the Mets had won seven straight. They have the best offense in baseball since they traded for Yoenis Cespedes and set a franchise record for homers in a month four days before August was over. They have at times looked unstoppable, like a team that could run away with the division and leave the Nats far behind.

That could still very well happen, but this weekend has opened the Nats’ window ever so slightly. They keep tabs on how the Mets are doing and were well-aware that New York had lost earlier in the afternoon.

“I don’t know about everybody else but I [check the scores]. That’s who we’re chasing in the playoff race,” Robinson said. “If I see that they lost and it’s a chance for us to gain a game, absolutely. I want that just as bad as I do any other win. We saw it and it’s just a good opportunity for us to gain a game and we went out and got it.”

“Everybody knows,” manager Matt Williams said. “If we win, we have opportunity to do that. If we don’t, then we don’t. Tomorrow’s another opportunity. If we can win that one, then we can have that same chance tomorrow, as well.”

The Nats have a good chance to keep it going on Sunday with Stephen Strasburg on the mound. He has been far and away their best starting pitcher since he returned from the disabled list on Aug. 8. Starting for Miami will be Brad Hand, who has a 4.23 ERA and was in the Marlins’ bullpen as of a month ago.

Time and time again this season many have pointed to an opportunity ahead of the Nats, a chance to take advantage of a matchup at an advantageous time. Winners of five of their last seven, perhaps the time is now.

  1. nats106 - Aug 29, 2015 at 11:22 PM

    Rare my ass.. This is the first of 7. Great game tonight-no flaws. Even the Bourish home rum was by a local: Westfield and GMU grad Justin Bour. All nats going forward. You hear it here first.

    • veejh - Aug 30, 2015 at 8:05 AM

      Get it down to 3.5 and panic will set in. The time is now to play their guts out.

  2. Another_Sam - Aug 30, 2015 at 8:21 AM

    Manage every game like it is a must win playoff game.

    • Section 222 - Aug 30, 2015 at 9:09 AM

      Agreed. Good to see MW bring in Pap for a non-save save. It was crucial to win last night, and they did.

      • Another_Sam - Aug 30, 2015 at 10:37 AM

        It’s easy to say but I hope we see the quick hook when appropriate. Too often it looks to my naive eye that the manager is the last person in the park to figure out that the starter doesn’t have it.

  3. rgsie - Aug 30, 2015 at 9:41 AM

    I do believe the train is starting to move…..Next Stop…New York Station…Go Nats.

  4. NatsJim - Aug 30, 2015 at 9:46 AM

    5 back in the loss column with 5 weeks to play and 6 games head-to-head with the Mets means there’s more than enough schedule left to get it done, they just need to play good baseball.

  5. Section 222 - Aug 30, 2015 at 10:18 AM

    The Nats need to play good baseball, but that’s not enough. The Mets need to stumble. It can happen, but let’s not kids ourselves that it’s all about how we play. We haven’t been able to sweep the Brewers, Padres, or Rockies this year. Sweeping the Mets — twice — is going to be a very tall order. And look who they have coming up in the two series on either side of their visit to DC — The Phillies, Marlins, Braves, and Marlins again.

    • unkyd59 - Aug 30, 2015 at 10:33 AM

      Time for a sweep! Win today, sweep da Barves, and get 2 of 3 from the Redbirds… Then the Mets. If we just have a good week, it’s a race!
      GYFNGOGOGO!!!

    • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 30, 2015 at 10:55 AM

      222: Exactly. I don’t like to focus on individual games too much, but at best I’m hoping the Nats can take 4 of 6 from the Mets, thus making up 2 games in the standings. The path to the NL East crown is very, very narrow right now — and isn’t helped by nights like Friday.

  6. coop202 - Aug 30, 2015 at 10:45 AM

    FIrst game I’ve been to all year… feel like I should go back tonight.

  7. natsguy - Aug 30, 2015 at 11:01 AM

    Calm down guys. One at a time. On this site the glass half full gets too pumped and the LOD gets too down. Calm down. Gotta believe if they can just get 2 out of 3 from Cards. That’ll be a season changer. But everybody just needs to calm down.

  8. NatsLady - Aug 30, 2015 at 11:22 AM

    Ramos catching again. Guess they figure his bat is hot (seven game streak).

    • BatBoy - Aug 30, 2015 at 12:06 PM

      Yep! BELIVE!!!!

  9. nats106 - Aug 30, 2015 at 11:34 AM

    On a separate and sadder topic, a baseball fan fell from the upper deck at Turner field and died. That’s the second time in 3 or for years.

    • stoatva - Aug 30, 2015 at 11:37 AM

      Based on what I’ve read about the incident I’ll simply say that I feel awful for the people who witnessed the horror, I’m glad no one else was hurt, and I’ll leave it at that.

  10. dcsnakehead - Aug 30, 2015 at 11:51 AM

    Nice essay today on different generations enjoying the game. The reporter (who seems to be a Nats fan) also calls out Posey on being a jerk.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/30/sports/baseball/in-sharing-baseballs-joys-mourning-something-lost.html?ref=baseball&_r=0

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