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State of the Nats: So, you’re telling me there’s a chance

Sep 21, 2015, 12:39 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today

Top storylines:

A glimmer of hope – With the Mets having lost on consecutive days, and the Nationals on a three-game winning streak, the practically shut window of the Nats’ 2015 season has been pried open ever so slightly.

Both teams have 10 games remaining until they face off in the final series of the regular season in New York and the Mets lead by six games. If the Nats were to gain three games over their next 10, they could travel to Citi Field with an opportunity to save their season by sweeping that series.

Are those good odds? No, certainly not. Lloyd Christmas may have had a better shot with Mary Swanson. But the fact there is still a remote possibility of making the playoffs is not lost on the Nats.

Tyler Moore: “We still have the same goal and hopefully some thing can happen for us. You never know. We’re just trying to play it day-by-day… We’re thinking about it all the time. Hopefully it happens. It’s definitely possible. That’s the goal is to make the playoffs. We’re just going to try to play the best we can from here on out.”

Matt Williams: “They’re playing. They continue to play. They haven’t quit from the first day of the regular season and they won’t until the end of the season. I’m proud of them for that. I’m proud of them for how they prepare every day and have desire to win.”

Yunel Escobar through a translator: “Obviously, it’s there but the less we think about it as a team he believes the better we have a chance of catching up to them.”

Why Rendon and Espinosa were out – Trea Turner got the start at second base on Sunday and did his part in the Nationals’ blowout win. He had a single, a walk and scored a run. It was a nice flash into the future for the Nats, who will probably have him in the lineup a lot more in 2016.

But it wasn’t that simple, it turns out both Anthony Rendon and Danny Espinosa were dealing with minor ailments. Rendon was sick with the flu, while Espinosa has a right hamstring injury.

Williams made Espinosa’s injury seem pretty minor:

“He’s dealing with a little hamstring, since Philly. We’re cautious with him in that regard.”

Severino makes his debut – Catcher Pedro Severino was one of the first call-ups the Nationals made when they expanded their rosters on Sept. 1, but it wasn’t until Sunday that he finally saw his first game action.

Severino was called upon to pinch-hit for pitcher Matt Grace in the eighth inning and he promptly slapped a double off the wall in left field. He then came around to score on a single by Escobar and remained in the game to catch Joe Ross in the ninth inning.

It was a long time coming for Severino, who said he will give the ball from his first hit to his mother.

“I’m just give it to my mom. She’s been waiting a long time for getting my first at-bat. Dedication that ball for her,” he said.

Severino said he wasn’t nervous during the at-bat, but was certainly fired up after coming home.

“I’m just feeling great because when I score like everybody went in the dugout with me and give me high five. They proud of me. I feel like I help my team,” Severino said.

Severino’s locker is close to that of Wilson Ramos, who has been mentoring the rookie since he was called up. They talk about how to call games, breaking down different pitchers and matchups from at-bat to at-bat.

Ramos was sitting at his locker when Severino was asked if he thought his double had a chance to leave the park.

“I’m just thinking that’s why I walk a little bit. I need the wind to help me a little bit,” Severino said.

“Or, you could work out more,” Ramos quipped.

NL East Standings



Offensive game of the week: Bryce Harper 9/15 vs. Phillies – 3-for-3, 2 HR, 4 RBI, BB, 2 R.

Pitching game of the week: Stephen Strasburg 9/15 vs.Phillies – 8 IP, 0 R, H, BB, 14 SO. 105 pitches, 77 strikes.

Quote of the week:

Williams on his fiery exchange with Max Scherzer on Friday against the Marlins:

I asked him ‘Do you want him?’ and he said, ‘Yeah’, among other things. I don’t know if you can read lips.

Tweet (or Instagram) of the week:



Road ahead

MON – 7:05 p.m. vs. Baltimore Orioles (Gonzalez)
TUE – 7:05 p.m. vs. Baltimore Orioles (Roark)
WED – 7:05 p.m. vs. Baltimore Orioles (Scherzer)
FRI – 7:05 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Zimmermann)
SAT – 4:05 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Strasburg)
SUN – 1:35 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Gonzalez)

  1. stoatva - Sep 21, 2015 at 12:44 PM

    Zero margin for error. None. And it may still not be enough. But who could ask for more, at this point? Had great fun at both Friday and Sunday games. Hoping for more tomorrow if the Monday night crew can take care of bidness.

  2. hersheyman - Sep 21, 2015 at 1:06 PM

    They need to go 8-2 before the Mets series and they’ll have a chance. Not impossible the way they have been playing lately. I was very critical of M Williams this year and of his incredibly poor decisions in last years playoffs, but his managing of the pitching staff as a whole has been much improved the last few weeks. Maybe he has learned something, a la Ned Yost.

    • ricandersen - Sep 21, 2015 at 1:55 PM

      If we go 8-2, Mets need to go 5-5. But six of those games are against the two worst teams in baseball (the remaining four are against the fifth worst team in baseball).

  3. moozystar - Sep 21, 2015 at 1:09 PM

    How about we follow the players example….take one game at a time and hope for the best! It seems like every time we talk about what has to happen for them to have a shot, the opposite happens. If the rain holds off, tonight should be a fine night to smash some birds! Lets go Nats!

  4. Doc - Sep 21, 2015 at 1:17 PM

    From the shot above, it looks like the bus had just stopped at roadside wholesale sunglasses site.

    One game at a time is good, but still thinking of that last series with the Metsies when we gave up a 7-1 lead.

    • Hiram Hover - Sep 21, 2015 at 1:57 PM

      From the shot above, it appears that Yunel’s seat mate is Zach Galifianakis.

  5. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 21, 2015 at 1:29 PM

    I actually don’t buy this argument, but this in the NYTimes today:

    No matter how you slice and dice it, the Mets have a six-game lead. Even if the Nats cut it to three going into the final series, it’s still a three-game lead with three to go and the Mets’ woud only need to one of three games.

    At this point in the season, the truly meaningful number is the magic number (currently at 8). And that’s going to be a hard fact to overcome. Theoretically impossible? No.

    Put me in the one-game-at-a-time category, but without a lot of hope.

    • hersheyman - Sep 21, 2015 at 1:39 PM

      It really all depends on the next 3 games with the Orioles.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 21, 2015 at 2:16 PM

        …and what the Mets do in their three games. I’m not trying to be a legionnaire of doom. I’m just being realistic. It’s a cliche, but the Nats don’t control their own destiny…unless the Mets start losing to sub-.500 teams. Again, I’m willing to take the one-game-at-a-time approach, but recognizing that the Nats have almost run out of games.

    • ricandersen - Sep 21, 2015 at 1:57 PM

      I’ll raise you one:

      If the Nats cut the lead to three going into the final series, Mets only need to win one of the FOUR games. Because even if the Nats swept the three-game series, there’s be the one-game tiebreaker.

      • sec112 - Sep 21, 2015 at 2:52 PM

        And the tiebreaker would be played at Citifield.

        Tall odds for sure. But I’ll tell you what – if they did end up in that one game playoff, at that point I think I’d rather be the Nats than the Mets.

      • knoxvillenat - Sep 21, 2015 at 7:42 PM

        If there is a tiebreaker why is it at Citi Field? Coin flip determine that?

  6. Section 222 - Sep 21, 2015 at 4:49 PM

    Since I gave up hope — after the Tuesday, Sept. 8 debacle — the Nats have been gone 7-4, and they are now six games out, the same margin they were out after that Tuesday blowup. Yes, the Mets have gone 7-4 too. So I still have no hope, but I’m sure enjoying the improved play. And I’ll be out there tonight again, taking it one game at a time.

  7. wskyrnr21 - Sep 22, 2015 at 6:31 AM

    When they beat somebody of any magnitude it might mean something…..





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at Click here for past audio clips.

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